Men under 17 and 19: a two-year campaign that becomes a four-year campaign

Swiss Unihockey changes the strategy of the national U-17 and U-19 men’s national team: The Under-19 Head Coach will take over the new U17 Class after the World Cup and oversee them for four years until the next U-19 World Cup.

Specifically, this change from a two-year to four-year campaign means that the current U19 coach Oli Ulinki will take charge of the new U-17 national team after the U-19 World Cup in Brno (Czechoslovakia) in August. The current head coach for the Under-17s, Simon Mayer, is leading his team, which he has already built over a two-year period, to the 2023 World Cup in Denmark before taking charge of the new U17 team again.

Introduced the World Cup early
“This change brings with it a number of benefits,” says Remo Manser, in charge of the national teams in Swiss Unihockey. “The most important feature is that through this four-year campaign, we can introduce young players to the topic of the World Cup at an early stage.” A lot happens in a player’s life, especially when he is under 17 years old. “It’s important to be able to advise players at this age in order to set the course for the future,” Manser explains, whether it be on the topic of career choice, environmental management or the military.

Manser sees many positive effects not only for the players, but also for the coaches themselves: “You can plan completely differently if you have four years and not just two available.” For example, you no longer have to browse all of the content in the first few camps because there are fewer international matches available in a two-year campaign. In general, you have more time and can build step by step and prepare the team for the World Cup. Simon Meyer adds, “We are in the middle of the World Cup campaign, so the benefits of the new adjustments are immediately felt. We can focus on the selection process first and then on developing the team. The two phases are still overlapping, but it is no longer necessary to deal with them quickly in parallel for a year and a half.”

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What about women?
Switzerland’s Unihockey made the same considerations for the U-17 and 19-year-old women’s national teams. However, he concluded that such a move would be counter-productive for the time being. “The situation is now a bit more complicated for women because the World Cup, which was supposed to be held in May 2020, will now be held in September 2021,” says Manser. This means that this generation can be looked after for a year and a half, while next year’s group must be ready for the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand and the youth group is already waiting again. “First, the World Cups should be held in 2021 and 2022 for the tempo to stabilize again. Then we will decide whether the change also makes sense for women and whether it can be delivered,” says Manser.

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