Wow what a two weeks back training with the Hockeyroo girls. In temperatures reaching almost 40 degrees it is a huge difference to playing in the 5 degree Holland weather. We had a two-week break off everything after Champions Trophy and one of the heaviest years tournament wise.

After this time we had around five weeks of our own pre season training program working on getting fitter, faster and stronger and be better than where we generally start after the Christmas period. A time that most people usually ‘let go’ was filled with a more professional approach to the festive break, where there is opportunity to maintain and improve certain athletic qualities. However, there is always the difficulty of not being in a team environment and having that competitive drive against each other, but instead the watch on your wrist. When everyone on Christmas Eve is still asleep, the Hockeyroos are up running, sprinting and lifting weights. I had a good hockey break in Perth and relaxed on what I think are some of the best beaches in the world. I got over to my hometown Canberra for two photo-shoots, followed by Sydney on my birthday doing work experience with Sunrise- a daily Australian morning news program. I also had a few big sponsorship meetings that I will announce in the coming months and am very excited about. Outside of this I took up skateboarding and went wakeboarding for the first time, so am mentally fresh and looking forward to a big 2015. IMG_0958

It was with excitement to see all the girls again on the 19th of January, with many going back to their home towns over Christmas to see family, as very few are actually from Perth- our training base. We kicked things off with a beep test to start, the dreaded beep test. As a Robert De Costello fan, this is one invention that many people would rather he did not come up with! It gave us a good indication of where the group sat and what work needed to be done in the coming weeks. We took it a little easy our first week back into hockey, as being down low in position isn’t great on a back that has had an extended break. With all systems go now the group is training hard leading into a national camp at the end of February. This will involve many players being given an opportunity to showcase their skills and try snatch up one of the eight scholarships still available in the Hockey Australia Program.

Unfortunately I miss the camp and will be on my way back to Holland on the 6th of February to join the MOP girls for pre season. I am really looking forward to seeing all the girls, my Holland family and the staff again. It has been a while since I left Europe and keen to get stuck into the second half of the season before returning to the Hockeyroo girls. IMG_1171

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Anna Flanagan
World hockey’s Young Player of the Year for 2012, Anna Flanagan is one of a group of young Australian athletes rapidly rising to the top together. Known as ‘Flanno’ or ‘Boy’ amongst teammates and friends, Flanagan reached a century of international appearances three years after making her debut. With a passion for the media industry and a keen blogger, Flanagan has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and has spent time both in front of the camera and behind the scenes with broadcasters in Perth in recent years. Now studying for a law degree to add to her journalism qualification, she also has a certificate three and four in fitness. Despite playing with her trademark yellow ribbon in her hair, Flanagan describes herself as a bit of a tomboy. Introduced to hockey through family, the youngster from Canberra initially refused to play because she was made to wear a skirt. At age eight she won that particular battle as her club allowed her to play in leggings; possibly one the smartest decisions made in the history of Australian hockey as Flanagan’s love affair with hockey quickly took off.