Officials at Chesterfield Hockey Club have revealed plans to launch a ladies development squad.
The club hope its introduction will bridge the gap between junior and adult hockey for young female players in the area.
A mixture of players from the mini-hockey set up and Staveley Ladies Hockey Club will meet up once a week, starting in September.
Chesterfield Hockey Club chairman Rob Anderson said the sessions are there to encourage participation, enjoyment and develop skills.
He said: “We’ve historically been a men’s club and we’ve over time introduced a junior mini hockey section, predominantly set off for boys but then became for boys and girls.
“What we’ve found over time is that boys will come into the hockey club and go on a path to the first team. That’s worked very successfully. We now have 15-year-olds playing in our first team at a very high level and they’ve come through that development pathway.
“There’s not a Chesterfield ladies side, there’s a Staveley ladies team and historically they’ve played out there but they now play at St Mary’s in Newbold, like we do, and there seemed to be a missing link between the juniors [at Chesterfield] and the adult ladies side [at Staveley].
“I think it’s something you can see across all sports, where boys and girls can stop playing for a variety of reasons, and what we’ve found in the club is that we were developing girl players up to the age of 14 where they needed to start playing adult hockey, but there wasn’t that link like with the boys.”
Ladies development sessions will take place on Wednesday evenings from 6-7pm and will be run by Chesterfield first team coach Christian Battye. The club already has a similar group for the development of male players, called the Badgers, which sees players progress to the senior men’s team.
Anderson added: “The Badgers is a friendly-type of set up in a league system, bringing 13-14 year old players and adult players together, for a taste of senior hockey and it’s working well. We want to set up some games for this ladies group and then use that as a feeder to get more female players playing. We’re currently talking to Staveley about bringing our two clubs’ relationship closer.”