Exclusive | By Rod Gilmour
You won’t be seeing England’s star players on Twitter or Instagram over the next few weeks. Danny Kerry’s side will avoid distractions at the Hockey World Cup by turning off all social media in their bid to win a first women’s world title.
The squad relaxed the social media rule for last summer’s EuroHockey Champonships, where they finished with bronze. At the Commonwealth Games, the decision was taken to turn off social media on game days only as they accrued another bronze medal.
This time, they will replicate their famous decision from Rio 2016 to create a “team bubble”, shield themselves away from the outside world and draw on one another to become a sociable collective.
They will do so 24 hours before their first game against India until the end of the tournament.
“We don’t want any distractions,” said Sarah Haycroft, Surbiton’s captain.
“Obviously there are the positives of social media with some lovely messages. But if there is one comment which might throw somebody off we don’t want to run the risk of that happening.
“There is more media coverage of us which is great but we want to make sure we are more focused as a team.
“We want to stay tight as a unit and be there for each other.”
The England women’s cricketers decided against social media activity during their World Cup tilt last summer – after consulting with their hockey counterparts – and it was likely that Kerry’s side would do the same in London.
🚨 Signing out of all forms of social media until after the @vitality_uk Hockey World Cup is over. We will do our very best to make you proud England 🏴. Can’t wait to get out there with @EnglandHockey. #HWC2018
Bye for now 👋 pic.twitter.com/95p6nW0ZW2
— Susannah Townsend OLY (@stownsend7) July 19, 2018
Given that their media profile has risen since Rio gold, there isn’t the need to promote themselves as heavily as England women look to make history.
“There may be a point where we might not be able to come off social media, like the football boys were on it the whole time due to their profile,” added Haycroft. “It may change from tournament to tournament.”