The month’s building up to an Olympic games is a detailed and thorough time. Every scenario, every performance factor, every percentage gain is covered so when we arrive it is down to business and there is no doubt as to what our plan is.
The culture we developed in our programme over the years was incredibly special and the environment at that time leading up to Rio was competitive, focused and intently. I felt pushed to my limits by others players and it made me the best athlete I could be. On the pitch, the level of hockey was world class and ‘Thinking Thursdays’ were getting feisty which is secretly what we all loved! Off the pitch, we were finessing tactical detail and trying to build up our match awareness of the teams we were going to play in Rio. I felt as a squad, everything was falling into place and I personally felt mentally prepared which is a large battle of handling pressure and performing at major competitions.
Away from the pitch, I was really focusing on my health and physical maintenance. We were all in phenomenal physical shape and so the importance of being proactive and spending that extra little bit of time on looking after your body couldn’t be underestimated. I had a stretching routine that I would do daily either before hockey training or gym and my main areas of focus were back, hips, hamstrings and glutes. I was working hard on hitting my nutrition targets and topping up my endurance with extra running sessions, thanks to Ben our S&C coach!
‘Thinking Thursdays’ were getting feisty which is secretly what we all loved!
Selection is never an easy time for the squad but it is inevitable and it is something as an athlete you have to be ready to deal with either way. Friday 3rd June, the day of selection my mum came down to London so she could be with me when I opened the email. I was incredibly nervous and it took me a few minutes to click and open it. It felt like time just froze and my heart was racing looking down to the bottom of the list for my name. Being a surname ‘W’ is tense! It has been a dream of mine since a little girl to go to an Olympics and win a gold medal so this selection was an overwhelming feeling of joy and happiness, which was amazing to share with my mum.
From 3rd June to 27th July when we left for Rio, it was the last push. The training group was the Olympic 19 players plus 5 reserves. These weeks were exciting as we had the Team GB announcement day, kitting out, meetings about Rio, what to expect, friends and family planning to come out and support but at Bisham we were using every day to the full and how else could we finish off training in an Olympic cycle than……….. a Rio themed fancy dress gym session!!!!