I am now a hockey player

I have just played my first ever hockey training session.

If you've seen my recent posts you'll know that I've joined Vitality UK in their new project to promote #WomenInSport The project is all about inspiring women to join a team sport and enjoy all the benefits team sports bring. 

You can find out more about the initiative here and, if you haven't read it yet, be sure to check out my interview with the Women's England Hockey team here.



Women In Sport

With the success of women’s sports teams recently: Women’s GB Hockey in Rio, the Women's England Cricket team Cup final and the Women’s Rugby team securing their place in history. The successes are a testament to the years of training and sacrifice. It’s motivating and inspiring but equally, for so many of us, team sport can still be intimidating.

Vitality UK challenged me to get involved with a local women's team and play either netball, hockey, rugby or football for six weeks. To give me the opportunity not only to take part in the physical and competitive side of a team sport but also to experience the awesome benefits that happen off the pitch/court – from making new and lasting friendships and having a laugh, to building your confidence and discovering new things about yourself. 

England Hockey Vitality Hockey Drills.jpg


My First Hockey Training Session

I picked hockey and today was my first training session. Until tonight the last time I played hockey was school in Year 9. I don’t really remember much about playing and I definitely wasn’t on the team but I wanted this to be a fair test. It wouldn’t be very inspirational to anyone if I joined a netball team having recently won ‘Player of the Tournament’ over the summer league.

I was linked up to a local hockey team by Vitality UK, Blue Harts Hockey Club. I knew absolutely no-one there and all day I was, if I’m completely honest, dreading it. Every time I thought about going I felt sick. As it got closer and closer to the session I was incredibly nervous. Again, if I’m completely honest I didn’t want to go. I knew I would enjoy it when I got there but the thought of going out to play a game I knew nothing about, with new people, in the freezing cold, when I had a tonne of work to do, didn’t appeal to me. But that’s the great thing about team sports. I had already committed and I would be letting the team down if I didn’t go. I knew I was going to go but it didn’t mean that I didn’t have that internal monologue of worst case scenarios going round it my head. I didn’t even know what kit to wear. At least with netball there’s no special kit involved but for hockey there’s shin pads, a gum shield, the socks (I didn’t know whether to wear a normal pair and hockey socks or just one pair, I really am a complete beginner).

I arrived and still felt sick. I wished again that I had chosen netball. 

There were so many people there. I hadn’t imagined it to be so popular but there were easily well over 50 women there. I introduced myself to a few people and told everyone I was completely new.

The warm-up started and I chatted to some of the girls. One explained how she had started from the bottom and worked up to the first team, another explained that she was new since September, another said that the team had seen incredible growth since the success of the Women’s GB team in Rio. From new-starters like me, women who hadn’t played since university and women re-joining from long periods out of the game, there were women of all levels. 

We started the training session with a 1k run

We started off with a 1k fast as you can warm-up. (Running, phew, at least that was something I knew how to do.) Next came a simple push drill which I think went okay. Sometimes I hit the ball, sometimes I didn’t. I would like to say I was relaxing by this point but I wasn’t.

Next up game a range of drills: shooting, attacking, defending, 4 on 4. It was complicated and often I was 10 seconds behind where I needed to be. The ladies were patient and offered technique tips. None of them laughed when I missed the ball or groaned when I let it go out of play. I was instantly made to feel part of the team. None of the super embarrassing scenarios I had dreamt up throughout the day materialised and do you know what, I had fun! I was absolutely mind and body exhausted after two hours but I cannot wait to go back. I know that this is a pretty personal account and I promise there will be a more technical review when I’ve played a few times but if you’re reading this and considering joining a team and you’re really nervous, embarrassed or overwhelmed. I want you to know that I was too. Just because I’ve run a marathon, climbed Kilimanjaro and love watching sport it doesn’t mean that I don’t get nervous too. I do. There have been times in my life that I’ve let being worried about what other people think about me stop me from getting involved. Thankfully I didn’t do that this time. I faced my fear and had a brilliant evening.

Thank you Blue Harts for the warm welcome!

Fancy giving it a go? For all of the details on how to get involved just hit the box below and of course let me know which sport you'll be trying out.

Lucy x

Photos via Vitality UK from the Viality England Hockey partnership launch

Photos via Vitality UK from the Viality England Hockey partnership launch