Tuesday, June 25, 2024

How firm Furst took GB Hockey women from ‘rock bottom’ to Rio Olympic gold

Great Britain women players recall the moment they met Australian sports psychologist Andrea Furst, who helped shape GB’s rise to the top

Returning from the Hague World Cup in 2014 was a trying experience. England women had finished 11th, women’s coach Jason Lee had soon left the role, performance director Danny Kerry took over and later in the summer England fell seconds short of gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Returning from a trip to Mendoza, Argentina that November, GB Hockey had hired a meeting room at Longridge, an adventure learning centre near to Bisham Abbey. It is where the women’s squad first met Furst and it wasn’t long before she became, as Kerry later described her, the “hand on the tiller” as far as team culture was concerned. 

Rio Olympian Hannah Macleod recalls one of Furst’s sessions with the squad at that team building camp near Bisham’s HQ. ‘This strange Aussie woman turns up to the cabin and basically says ‘we’re not here to f*** about’,” says Macleod.

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