Where does it all start? How do you even begin to think about trying out for the Women’s England squad?
Obviously, make sure you play ice hockey & hold a British passport! It also helps to be a lass and be registered with a club. It doesn’t matter if you play for a div 2, div 1 or premier club. What matters is your attitude and effort level.
It’s an oft repeated motto in hockey & exercise circles but it is perfectly true, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
The current set up for the selection of the squad is as follows.
- Attend North or South trials (dependent on your location)
- Be invited to attend Combined North & South trials
- Be invited to attend team training
- Be selected for the England squad
I make it sound so easy, right?
Here’s what I have personally experienced and how I first got involved. (I am of course, only speaking for what happens in the South. I understand the North team trial out of Sheffield, but I’m not 100%.)
One of my teammates wanted to try out for the South squad and didn’t want to go by herself. She talked me into going along with her and I’m really glad she did.
Off we trekked to the Lee Valley ice rink in London late on a Saturday night when training started at 10:45pm until 12:15am. Yup. You’re not reading that wrong. We’re then rushing to shower, pack up and get out of the rink and head back home.
I’m glad it’s at the weekend (so that I’ve got time to recover before the working week starts again), I view it as it extra ice and it’s only £10 for an hour & a half of hockey on a decent sized rink.
Previously, the South & North teams would be selected and then there would be 2 games of North vs South. It has only been from this year that there has been combined training with the 2 squads, which is probably more beneficial from the coaches point of view. However, I know many players, including myself, feel as though they perform better in a game scenario. Of course, games aren’t conducive to viewing a players skill sets by a coach in a controlled situation.
Once selected for Combined training, the trials are held up in Sheffield. Still for an hour and a half of ice and still for just £10. Depending on the available times, it is often another late start and a finish of midnight. Cue more rapid showering and getting out of the rink as quickly as possible. After that, the long drive home. 4am finishes have become all too routine for me sadly!
You might think I’m painting a bleak picture but this is what it takes to represent your country. To pull on a shirt for Team England & play hockey requires commitment and dedication.
Waiting for emails to find out if you’ve made the cut can be a bit nervy!
It’s worth it though. You get an incredible opportunity to represent your country, to play hockey in a place you may never have played before, against teams you would never normally get the chance to play against and have experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.