Wednesday, April 17, 2024

‘I’ve been able to use my experience at top level to motivate the team’

The Hockey Paper speaks to former England and GB International Lucy Wood of Guildford women, who currently lead Conference East

Being a part of the Guildford 1s is just fantastic. We have a great mix of youth and experience and have welcomed some talented players over the last couple of seasons, including Ukrainian Internationals and Rose Thomas (former Welsh and GB GK). We now have greater depth in our squad and increased competition for places, which is always a good thing.

Being one of the more senior members has given me the opportunity to be a coach, and a mentor, on and off the pitch to some of our very exciting, younger players.

After the disappointment of missing out on promotion to National Division 1 South last year, we are more determined than ever to win the Conference East this season!

With a group of our squad making their National League debuts in September, I’ve been able to use my experience at the top level internationally to motivate the team, promote high expectations and raise standards of commitment and quality through the season. 

This has helped us become very competitive and successful. With three games to go, we know the league is in our hands; we must take one match at a time, keep playing well and earning all three points each Saturday. At the moment we are four points clear.

Indoor has also been a huge focus for the team over recent years. In January, we made our debut in the National Premier League; we successfully finished 5th after both weekends, narrowly missing out on the Super Sixes Finals. This was a fantastic experience for the squad, and I’m very proud of the performances we were able to produce against strong opposition sides.

We hope to make it one step further next year and qualify in the top four. Our indoor campaign certainly helped keep us sharp, fit and focused going into the second half of the outdoor season.

It’s been rewarding for me to be involved in decision making, tactics and coaching since joining Guildford HC. Shay O’Connell, the women’s 1s head coach, has always encouraged me to share my technical and tactical knowledge with the team.

I do miss playing Premier Division hockey, however there are so many positives to being a part of this club, particularly for my work/life balance.

Guildford is a special and exciting club creating a positive, inclusive and welcoming environment to play hockey in. The men’s and junior sections are also successful too and there is always a great atmosphere down at the clubhouse.

Indoor is big focus at Guildford PIC: Graeme Wilcockson / gmwsport.com

I’m involved in a lot of the junior coaching, including being the Lead Coach of both the England Hockey GHC Girls Talent Academy and the U13 A Girls squad.

Alongside working at Guildford, I am an NHS Physiotherapist; I currently work at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey on the Respiratory ward. I am enjoying learning a huge variety of specialty skills and challenging myself daily.

I continue to run Flame Hockey Academy, which I established in 2016 in Horsham, West Sussex. We run holiday camps for young players. These are open to 7-16 year-olds of all ability level; these have proved very popular and I now run these in Guildford, as well as in Horsham.

I also visit local schools to deliver coaching masterclass sessions and provide private technical skill sessions to local players on a weekly basis.

Total Hockey

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