And we are off; the second half of the Dutch season has begun! We narrowly lost our first game 2-1 against the topside Den Bosch, a much-improved performance from last year but still many things we can improve going forward.

I thought in this blog I would run through what a typical training week looks like over here is chilly Vught (pronounced Voogggggghhht). We have four team training sessions. Tuesday night we run for an hour then train skills for an hour, Wednesday we train skills, eat then train skills again, and Friday night we have another two-hour skill session. We have a number of staff helping out different areas, such as a separate running coach, and trainers for different sessions. On top of this I have requirement to meet 2-4 gym sessions a week for the Australian team, as well as 1-2 separate corner sessions.

We train less than with my national team, as obviously these girls are studying and working all whilst trying to make it in the Hoofdklasse (Dutch League) or gain national selection. The competition sees us travel to the various hockey clubs around Holland on Sunday. We head off in a convoy of six MOP cars driven by the girls. I also have a sponsor car, however mine is from DIMENSYS (IT consulting company) who are passionate about helping people achieve their dreams, with various sponsorships of sports around the area.

IMG_2369On another note my dad arrived last week, with no luggage, not ideal when it doesn’t get above 5 degrees! He watched one of our trainings last night, as my coach for 12 years it is really interesting for him to watch how they train and play over here in Holland. It is good he is a hockey fanatic because as I mentioned with my schedule there is not a huge amount of free time to do much else but rest! However, we did go and have a look at Vught concentration camp yesterday, which was both an amazing and sad experience. IMG_2397

I am still chipping away at my Dutch lessons with Russell Ford, safe to say we probably haven’t come incredibly far however I understand most things around hockey that has really helped at training and in the games.

We play away this week, in a really important game for our standing on the ladder. My dad is here for another two weeks to cheer on the mighty MOP and I will continue to keep trying to grow my game in the Dutch competition with the guidance of my teamies and coaches.

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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.

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