• Sixth Form
  • Sport
In focus – Millfield Hockey player Tendai Ankude

We sat down with Upper Sixth hockey player and saxophonist Tendai Ankude to discuss his hockey journey and the hockey programme at Millfield. 

How long have you been at Millfield?    

I've been at Millfield for five years now, joining in Year 9 and I'm now in Upper Sixth. I’m currently studying A levels in Maths, Further Maths and Physics. 

How did you first start playing Hockey? 

I first got into hockey aged nine whilst growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa. My sister started playing at a local club called Crusaders so I followed her into club hockey. 

What position do you play? 

I play in the midfield, which means that I’m often performing different roles depending on the game! I normally play attacking midfield, but I do also play sweeper and defensive midfield from time to time. 

What do you like most about the Millfield Hockey programme?   

I think the relationship with the coaches is what I like the most - we get great feedback both technically and tactically on what we’re able to improve not only on a game-to-game basis but in every training session. I like how we get to learn from a range of coaches with various backgrounds and perspectives. When doing one-to-one lessons, we have a regular rotation of coaches that we’re learning from, so we get to learn different skills and learn different approaches to hockey in general. It's nice to get different perspectives from different coaches because they all have a wealth of knowledge of different positions.  

What training programme do you follow? 

We have team training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays if we don't have a game. Alongside that, we have a gym session every Monday and a one-to-one lesson once a week. On game weeks, we will train on Friday to work on our short corner routines ahead of a match. 

Do you take part in any other clubs at Millfield? 

I take part in Jazz Band where I play the saxophone. We have rehearsals on Monday evenings and a busy concert schedule throughout the school year.  

What is your favourite sporting achievement/memory at Millfield? 

My favourite sporting achievement at Millfield would be when we won the regional hockey competition in Year 9. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go to nationals due to COVID-19, but we had a great day winning regionals. 

What different competitions do you currently take part in? 

Currently, we take part in the England Hockey Tier 1 Boy’s U18 championship and the Independent Schools Hockey League U19 championship. I also play games in the men's league in Kenya during the summer. 

Are there any obvious changes to the programme that have been positive while you’ve been here? 

I would say our pre-Christmas programme has changed a lot which has helped us to set a strong foundation for the season. We started playing men's club teams which has introduced more physicality into our game. We have also been allowed and encouraged to train with local league clubs Bath Buccaneers and Clifton Robinsons, which also helps us to play league games on the weekends both before and after Christmas.  

What changes would you make to the programme for the future?    

I think it would be great to have trackers on us when we play so we can see all the data of how much distance we cover, the intensity of our sprints and various other metrics to measure our physical output.  

Are you looking to go to university, if so, where? 

Yes, I am looking to go to university. I have applied in both the UK and US and I'm not sure where I'm going to go, but I’m keeping my options open. I want to go into aerospace engineering in the UK and mechanical or aerospace engineering in US. I hope to continue playing club hockey as well as university level hockey depending on where I go. I mainly want to keep improving and keep competing! 

What memory from Millfield Hockey would you keep with you for the rest of your life? 

A memory I will always keep with me, even when I leave Millfield, would be our tour to South Africa. During the summer of 2023 we took part in the Cape town International Hockey Festival, which included the opportunity to play some of the top players in South Africa, and even players who represent South Africa internationally. We learnt a lot about their style of hockey in South Africa and what we can take from their game and implement into ours. We found it was quite different as we found there was a lot more individual quality amongst the players and that their fitness levels were incredibly high. This meant we had to adjust our style of defending and our style of pressing in order to compete at such a high level which was an incredibly valuable experience.