In the northern Hamburg district of Niendorf, the lights go on early these days for the Green family.

From Monday to Wednesday, Michael Green gets up at quarter past five in order to be in his orthopedic practice in Altona three quarters of an hour later.

The fact that he still has the energy in the evening to work as a volunteer coach and youth coordinator at the HTHC is due to time management on the one hand, and his colleague Helge Beckmann, who has equal rights in the joint practice, on the other - and above all to true enthusiasm for hockey.

Green, world hockey player of the year 2002, as well as world and European champion, can't get out of the small talk as he stands in the clubhouse of the Harvestehuder Tennis and Hockey Club (HTHC) on Barmbeker Strasse on this Thursday in December.

The World Cup is on the big screen, but Green's main concern is his favorite sport.

There is always something to discuss, something to optimize.

It was just being discussed whether a refugee from Iran would be good enough to strengthen the HTHC men in the Bundesliga.

He probably isn't.

But always a candidate for the second team in the regional league.

This detail alone shows that Green may have been responsible for youth at the club since 2017, but takes care of much more than "just" the youngsters: "We don't just want to develop at the top, but more broadly.

"Everything is defined by trainer quality and trainer quantity"

That sounds (and is meant) as if a topic has been dealt with so successfully and extensively that one can turn to the next.

Because the youth teams of the HTHC won four out of six German championships in the past field hockey season.

The club employs six full-time coaches for youngsters – including well-known men’s coach and national player Christoph Bechmann, who is responsible for the fortunes of the U18s.

This team has been German champion four times since the U14.

"Such titles naturally have a pull effect when it comes to recruiting young people," says Green, "everything is defined by the quality and quantity of trainers." Girls and boys are promoted equally.

Five years ago, Green presented his hockey concept at the HTHC, where he had played since 1993.

40 pages.

This includes: Values, attitude, preferred hockey style, scope of training, when competitive hockey starts, but also how many coaches each of the 30 field hockey teams needs, when strength training starts, how to tame the notorious hockey parents - Green, 50, smiles: "At least 30 percent of them have played hockey." He knows that he has to hold back many mums and dads rather than push them, and the discussions as to why Constanze, Paul or Johannes are not promoted to the next high-performing team are exhausting.

But he leads them because he knows that those who have been sorted out are in good hands in the lower teams.

And play for titles there.

Preparation for the season begins in the summer holidays

“Most of those who are here or come to us are intrinsically very motivated,” says Green.

It demands a lot from the children and young people – the last ten days of the summer holidays are always part of the pre-season from the U14 onwards.

Green, son of an American father and a Romanian mother, born in Braunschweig, says: “The knowledge transfer at the HTHC works.

We attach great importance to preparing our youngsters well and stably for competitive hockey.” Athletics trainer Rainer Sonnenburg, a well-known name in many sports in the north, and Green's knowledge as an orthopaedist help with this.

That's not all: "We not only train for our first teams, but for life."

When you've devoted your time to hockey that much, your kids have a hard time doing anything else.


Michael Green laughs: "I have to slow these three down!" Linda, Maxi and Tim (18, 15 and 13 years old) play hockey at the HTHC;

Green recently even trained his youngest son.

All three have achieved championship honors in HTHC dress – how could it be otherwise?

If Michael Green has his way, it can stay that way.

"I've been doing this for five years with great pleasure and I'll do it for five more," he says, thinking of the club's summer party, the winter party, the big indoor tournament with 200 children from all over Germany, and says: "We have many happy children people here.

For me the club is like vacation."