Euro disappointment

I strongly believe that when you set big enough goals and ambitions, you will travel towards achieving it. I also believe that the roughness of the path is part of the journey.

After playing my way back onto the International scene, things have been going amazingly; I’ve played every match for England since we started back after the Olympics until this weekend vs Holland. I’ve not only been playing, but scoring goals and enjoying it.

However, the last few weeks have been difficult. Fasting has meant I have been on a reduced training schedule and taking my gym sessions out of my programme. That lack of conditioning has allowed an old hip injury to come back, which means I’m struggling to walk without pain, let alone play International hockey.

We now know that for me to maintain health and fitness, it’s essential that I do some gym/conditioning work while fasting. We also now know that I should bulk up a little before the fasting period to help my robustness through the period.

I’m missing the European Cup, but the positive thing is that we have learned from this year’s fasting experience and can use that for the coming 3 years in the build up to my ultimate treasure – playing at an Olympic Games.

Rehab awaits and then another season with Reading HC. 2014 is a busy year with International tournaments so it’s time now to start preparing.

Learning from defeat

Defeat. It happens. Important thing is, what the defeat means for you.

A couple of days ago, after reaching the highs of qualifying for next year’s World Cup two days before, we lost to Argentina in the Semi-Final of the tournament we were in.

So where does our attention turn to?

- What problems did they cause us, tactically?
- Which of their players did things that hurt us? What did they do?
- How can I learn from that? Defending it again and applying it to my own game

Winning feels nice, and I prefer it, but nothing teaches you more than a good old set back.

Setbacks, defeats, hurdles, obstacles, whatever you call them; when you come across them, ask yourself the critical questions that allow you to get benefit from it.

Embrace it. Learn from it. Grow because of it.

p.s. We beat Korea the next day to take Bronze Medal.

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World Cup qualification… Check!

World Cup qualification. That’s what we came here for. 3 weeks away in Malaysia with 4 months of preparation before it, all for 1 game that determines whether we qualify or not. Everything we have done has been for this moment. Scary. Exciting. No place to hide.

This is what goals should be like. We were clear in our objective when we started out. Everyone knew what we were working towards, and why the tactics we were training were being trained. To win our Quarter Final match of this tournament would give us a top 4 finish – enough to qualify for the World Cup.

Our group games went well, and we stuck to our game plan to beat Japan 5-0 in the Quarter Final. Job done. Mission complete.

Life isn’t about achieving and relaxing though. Life is about progress, development, and constantly striving for better. When you achieve your goals, always make sure you immediately set a new one otherwise you will feel stagnant, unfulfilled, and bored.

Our next goal is now a top 2 finish by winning our Semi Final against Argentina tomorrow. After that we set another goal.

Summary:
- Set a goal that excites you
- Make sure it excites your team, whether a sports team, business team, or even family
- Get everyone to buy in to the tactics you’re going to use to get there
- Whatever happens at the point of achieving / not achieving, set your next goal immediately

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Flight to the Far East

It’s been a fairly full schedule recently with the England squad, all building up to the World League 3 tournament in Malaysia.

It seemed so far away when we started our full time training a few months ago, and now I’m writing this post from the plane on the way to Singapore for our holding camp Pre-tournament.

Our preparation has been good and we feel like a team. Now it’s all about results though, so wish us luck and follow along on the FIHockey YouTube channel where our games will be shown live.

Off to play ze Germans!

Today, we are on our way to Mannheim, Germany for a couple of matches against ze Germans over the weekend as preparation for the World League Semi-Finals.

What I love about our programme at the minute is that we are training a lot, but we are also playing a lot. This weekend is another chance to play against world class opposition and measure ourselves against what is considered the yard stick.

Having lost 3/3 last week in Belgium, we are now looking to put the polish on our long periods of possession, and score some more goals.

The last time we played against Germany, we won 5-2 in the Champions Trophy. Both squads have been added to since then, so I’m actually really excited about getting started.

Match Report: England vs Belgium 06/06/2013

We are getting so much closer to the performances needed to win a lot of International matches, but we are making too many school boy errors in critical areas.

We have dominated long parts of matches this week, but now it’s time to learn the lessons of International hockey and do what really matters: be ruthless in attacking and defending circle.

We are in a learning and development phase at the minute, and I’m glad to be part of a team that plays good hockey. Now though, our challenge is to become a team that plays good hockey and wins.

Congrats to my Reading teammate James Bailey on making his Senior International debut.

Below is the match report from England Hockey:

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Match report: England vs Belgium 04/06/2013

At the final whistle, I felt deflated. With less than a minute on the clock, I received a ball at top circle with my back to goal turned and hit the bar. They then went down the other end to win a corner and score in stoppage time. We may have still lost the game if my shot had gone in, but losing 3-2 is completely different to losing 4-1.

Again, our 2nd half performance was much better than our 1st as we started to dominate large spells of play. We. Are a team that are growing in confidence and the obvious next step is that everyone in the team desperately wants to get on the ball and make a difference; not all by being an Ashley Jackson and carrying it, but by getting the ball ahead of the defence and executing their role like it really matters.

We still have one more game against Belgium this trip, which means we have a game to win.

Congrats to Phil Roper who made his Senior International debut tonight. A great young player who has a lot to offer international hockey.

Below is the match report that England Hockey published after the game tonight.

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