So it was my first block of training back with the GB Hockey programme since having time out post Rio. The DOMS kicked in on day 3 but it is a great feeling to be back playing international level hockey and I am incredibly ready for the challenges ahead.
With challenges in mind, there is one stand out memory that has stayed with me since Danny said it to us just after we won gold last year in Rio, “winning after winning’. During my time off I had a chance to reflect on my journey so far having competed at London 2012 and Rio 2016 and whether to continue on the programme towards Tokyo 2020 was the right decision for me. I am a ridiculously competitive person, my brothers will certainly be able to vouch for that, and so having won gold last summer it certainly made me think long and hard about it, needless to say I succumbed to that amazing feeling and wanted more of it which is why I am back!
Hockey stole the limelight at Rio 2016 and I am so proud of the programme we have at Bisham Abbey funded by UK sport, National Lottery and sponsors Investec. We have created history in Women’s hockey and are in new territory entering the next Olympic cycle. All the other teams around the world will be looking to see what we do, how we train, what our programme provides and use what they can in their own national programmes. Our challenge is one we must embrace and not be scared of. This is where we want to be, at the top, Olympic champions and still chasing World number 1 spot. We will continue to adapt our programme and find new ways of training both on the field and away from the pitch. Danny is certainly a mastermind when it comes to hockey and I am glad “Thinking Thursdays” seems to still be on the cards…..the pink team were victorious on my first week back too!!
We have created history in Women’s hockey and are in new territory entering the next Olympic cycle.
There is also another aspect to success and although we focus on the performance side the majority of the time, there is also the sport as a whole. The momentum we have created for hockey is fantastic and it is growing from strength to strength. The success we achieve at international level filters back down through to grassroots and inspires future generations of Olympians. It is amazing to see the rising figures of hockey participants all over the country and after Rio it jumped to an 80% increase and there is double the number of girls now playing which is incredible. We as athletes have a huge role to play in this by visiting clubs, schools and events to show our support to the hockey family. By sharing our experiences and stories we hope other youngsters will follow in our footsteps in the future and continue to grow the sport we love.