Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Future Of TeamUK - Interview With Tom Heynes

After this summer’s 2015 European Games (EG) ended with a silver medal for TeamUK, QuidditchUK recently announced a standing TeamUK and revealed Tom Heynes to be their new TeamUK Coordinator. Heynes will oversee the squad as it prepares for IQA World Cup 2016 next summer – formerly known as Global Games (GG) 2014 and the Summer Games 2012. The Quidditch Post spoke with Heynes to discuss his plans to develop the team.

Quidditch Post: Firstly, congratulations on your appointment! How do you feel getting the job?
Tom Heynes: It’s a great opportunity that I’m delighted to have received. Being part of TeamUK for two years has taught me a lot, and I can’t wait to use that experience to give back to the team!
Tom Heynes representing the Radcliffe Chimeras | Photo credit: Stacey and David Thripp

QP: How does your role fit in with the coach and captain of TeamUK? Can you explain the hierarchy?
TH: I am not able to answer that question at this time as we're still working on ideas and the details about how things will be working this year.

QP: Where will TeamUK go from here? What do you see as your mission continuity or overhaul?
TH: We want to keep continuity with the standing team, but there are a few ideas that will make a big difference, such as more regular trainings. I’d also like to see a wider involvement with the community having TeamUK engage with snitches and referees to improve the quality of officials across the UK would be great. There are a few more ideas in the pipeline but I don’t want to say anything on those until we have a more concrete plan for them. The standing team will allow us to have the chemistry and understanding that all great teams have. The turnover will depend on the quality of players that come into the training set up we’ll be establishing and then how they compare to the players that are already part of the 21-person roster, but there is unlikely to be a sudden change of players. The team will evolve, allowing us to keep the core team ideals the same with everyone unified behind them.

QP: What plans does TeamUK have for fundraising, given that there is a good chance that WC 2016 will be held overseas and potentially on another continent?
TH: This is something that we’ll be looking at with the team during its next training session. With over six months until the tournament, I’m confident we can fundraise an amount that will help us with the costs. We’ve already started by producing our high fliers card game.

QP: You are a TeamUK veteran. What have you learned at GG 2014 and EG 2015 that you will utilise in this job?
TH: I think it’s important to engage with the community and have as many trainings as realistically possible. That way, we’ll have a great team and the support of the amazing community surrounding the sport. Additionally, having a highly focused approach and shared mindset amongst the players is a must. Preparing as early as possible is always a great step towards success as it means that there will be less to stress about closer to the tournament.

QP: Why, in your opinion, did TeamUK fail to secure the gold at this year’s EG? What will you do to make TeamUK the top European team, as well as challenge the likes of major teams from other continents, such as the US, Australia, and Canada?
TH: Unfortunately, the time frame last year and the spread of players exams only allowed us to have two trainings, only one of which was attended by all the players. The increased length of time we have to prepare will provide us with more regular and focused practices, which will develop the playing style and talent within the team.
QP: What do you think will be your biggest challenge in managing the development of TeamUK?
TH: I think it’s going to be a challenge to juggle all the different things that are likely to come my way, such as accommodation, selection, and obviously trainings. But I am confident that with the proper approach I can handle it.
QP: And, finally, what would you deem a successful campaign for World Cup 2016?

TH: I think seeing TeamUK in the final is our primary aim. Winning is the obvious reason we would want to enter the tournament, and competing in the final is the way to achieve that. I feel that placing in the Top 3 would do justice to the steps forward quidditch in the UK has seen in the time since GG 2014.

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