"They have England in their pool, who are professional, centralised. They all train and play together and don't necessarily have to worry about working. Some do work and study, but the contact time they get is greater than the contact time we get."

The Wales women's team faced a similar challenge in Glasgow this month, where they came up against teams able to spend far more preparation time together.

Competing in EuroHockey Championship II, Wales produced some fine performances including a 7-3 win over the Ukraine and 5-1 trouncing of Turkey, but narrowly missed out on reaching the semi-finals, finishing fifth overall.

Although disappointed not to reach the last four, Male said: "It's evident that we can compete against some of the best teams. We have got good results against the likes of Spain.

"We've done so over the past couple of years and we want to continue that trend. We will find ways and means to do that. We will assess the programmes, check and challenge our processes and how we approach things in a holistic way.

"And we are looking at becoming more commercially-minded, engage with partners where we can help them and they can work with us."

In the meantime, as well as the senior teams, there is plenty of playing talent coming through the development programmes with the men's and women's under-21s having been promoted from their respective sections this summer.

Male says: "The 21 to 23 programme is something we have re-introduced recently and it's made a significant difference and given the opportunity for some of those players to play in that age group, develop leadership qualities, and become role models for the younger players.

"It has been a real success. Our women have been promoted to Championship One - the A division of the youth Euros - and our men are back up to the B division, so that's really promising.

"There's some real talent coming through which does give us confidence for the future."

With the Tokyo Olympics coming up next year, Male hopes there will be Welsh representation in the Great Britain teams.

"There is a really strong relationship with Great Britain. Sarah Jones has obviously featured heavily recently and some of the younger players are in the development programme with Great Britain which is a great pathway from the home nations. We've seen some real positives coming out of that."

And looking a little further ahead, Male is optimistic about Welsh hopes at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

"We know we can compete with some of those teams ranked higher than us and we want to go out and beat them. We don't just want to do well against them.

"I think there will be ambitions to do a lot better in Birmingham than we have done in the past."

Away from the national sides there is also a lot of time and effort being invested in the grass roots game.

"The performance teams are doing really well," says Male. "I think we just need to see some growth at the clubs now.

"We want to invest time into how we can encourage more people to keep playing hockey, to get involved and join a club, because that's where everyone starts their hockey, at club level.

"It's just a case of how do we get more people playing - women and men, girls and boys. It's about getting them hooked on the sport.

"We have got a number of initiatives to get people involved. Playing summer hockey, summer sevens, and we run a programme called Hooked on Hockey, where we support primary schools to make hockey sustainable within the school set-up.

"Rather than us coming in and doing an initiative for six weeks and then going, we are supporting schools to deliver it themselves with a view that they'll get hooked on hockey at primary school level, then from 10, 11, 12, 13 years of age they'll play club hockey.

"So, that is the medium term plan at the moment. To give kids the opportunity to experience hockey at that age."