My Life In HOCKEY
Once you find a club that you like, especially when you’ve had a lot of success, why go anywhere else?
This is now the end of my 12th season at Reading, which is a really long time. I’m like the grandma of the team now!
I started playing hockey when I was 11 years old. One of my friends at school played so I thought I would just go along as well.
She was the only girl at a boys’ club, at the time, so it started out with me thinking I would go along so I could keep her company! But I just took to it from there.
I was fortunate enough to go to a school that was very strong at hockey and I found it was a sport that I could do.
I was one of those kids that was really sporty – I played everything until I was about 16.
But then I got to the age when I wanted to play in the National League, and knew I had to focus on hockey.
So when I was 17 I came to play at Reading. They were in Division One back then so I spent a couple of years playing there.
I went to university relatively locally so carried on playing at Reading – it’s not that far from where my parents live. I had a stint abroad briefly but then came back, as I’ve always felt that Reading is my home.
Hockey was the one sport that I was probably best at, but I also really liked the team element. It’s always just such a nice group of people. Hockey clubs are often really friendly places.
People talk about the hockey family and I think that is such an attractive thing about the sport as well – it’s just so inclusive and anyone can play.
There is so much going for it and it teaches you life lessons, which is something that really appealed to me and appealed to my parents. It is also better for your knees, which makes it better than netball!
Teamwork is really important – I have been really fortunate to captain for the last six years and play with some fantastic leaders.
Hockey has taught me a lot about myself, and what my strengths and weaknesses are, but also how to lead, how to encourage people and how to be part of something that is successful.
Obviously this season we haven’t had much success, and that has taught me some very different things, but I think you still have to lead even when things are going badly.
There are lots of lessons and lots of precious things that I can look back on across my career, and be really thankful for.
I’ve seen Reading Hockey Club change massively in my time here. Our junior section is probably the biggest difference and it’s gone from strength to strength.
Also we were relatively amateur initially. We are not by any means professional now, when we still pay to play, but the years we have been in the Premier Division, in particular, have rubbed off.
The professionalism has just been completely different especially with having centralised players in our squad.
You are forced to play like you are an elite athlete, and think like an elite athlete, even if you are doing another job on the side.
If you have got centralised players in your squad, and their whole life is hockey and they do everything to be the best that they can be, you have to keep up with them.
Even if you’re working a job you have got to try and keep up with them, sleep like them and train like them.