Sarah Thomas Blog

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MARCH 2008

Since returning from Australia we've started with our Central Trainings at Bisham Abbey. This means that we train as a team from Sunday through to Tuesday. It's a good opportunity to piece together what we have been doing in our own individual trainings and it's generally a lot nicer to train as a whole team because we get to push each other and support one another through those high intensity sessions.

At the end of the month we are heading to Dublin for some test matches against Ireland, it'll be good to get some games against a physically strong team who have been busy with their own preparations for the Olympic Qualifier.

This period of training is also a heavy strength phase which means we are back to doing 3 weights sessions a week on top of all the other training. Must say your legs feel a lot more tired during this phase.

On arrival in Dublin I was going down the escalator and over the tannoy I hear my name being called out to go to the information desk.. oh great that can only mean one thing.. which the guy at the desk unfortunately confirmed. My bag had been left in Heathrow. Problem was that the next flight wouldn't get in until 7pm that night and we were due to play a game at 7.30pm!! I had checked two bags in my kit bag and stick bag. If my stick bag arrived then it'd be fine because it had everything

I needed to play I could borrow some clothes from my team mates to tide me over. .. and on this occasion I was in luck as I slowly saw my stick bag come towards me on the conveyor belt. We won that game comfortably 5-0 that evening and I got the first goal so was definitely happy that I'd been able to play after the doubts earlier in the day.

The next game we drew 1-1. It definitely wasn't one of our better games especially after the win the night before but we had a third game the next day to put that right and we did beating Ireland 3-1.

Instead of returning with the team to Heathrow I was flying directly from Dublin to Amsterdam as I was going to spend the next week training with my club Rotterdam and playing in a league game against KZ. I always enjoy going over to play and feel it does a lot for my confidence so I was quick to capitalise on a quiet week of training here in Bisham to go over and join my team.

The sun was shining on the Sunday for the league game and the boys were playing that afternoon which had attracted a nice sized crowd. It's always nice to play in the stadium on days like that and even better to get a win with my team. They are unbeaten now for the last 5 games and if they continue they will make playoffs at the end of the month which would be great for the team and the coach particularly as its his last year coaching at Rotterdam.

APRIL 2008

This month is based around central trainings which will give us some more quality time to train together as a team and work on set pieces i.e. short corners, attacking free hits etc

From Sunday through to Tuesday we train together. Normally we do two pitch sessions a day lasting around 2 hours each, varying from medium to high intensity. We are currently wearing heart rate monitors during the high intensity sessions to see how hard the practices are working us and also to gain an understanding of each individual's heart rate.

Then after camp I head off to my Dutch class on a Tuesday evening. I've decided that if I go back to Holland next season then I want to be fluent. While they all speak excellent English and you can easily get by without doing so I think it's about time now I was finally able to understand everything and speak in Dutch as I'm sure this would give me better job prospects whilst being over there.

Training has been going well. I definitely feel better when I'm getting more time with a stick in my hand and am really looking forward to the Games against Argentina in early May. Although I have started to feel a pain in my knee and calf recently and it seems to get worse when I sprint so I'm going to have to get that checked out with the physio.

I've had physio everyday this week. I think that's a world record for me. I try to stay away from physio's if possible, not they aren't lovely people just that I stick to the motto 'if it's not broken, why fix it'' Apparently my knee pain was coming from my back. I guess the heavy weights sessions and general load of training as taken its toll on my back temporarily and it's got a little tight. So I have had acupuncture and treatment most days to release the tension and must say the back and knee are feeling a lot better.

Still not feeling great with my calf, however luckily because of my weird running style and if you've ever seen me run you'll know what I'm talking about (rather than the traditional high knees I tend to have a low base and push out from the sides of my feet, hardly moving off the floor) I am able to play hockey and do my weights as normal and just have to take my foot off doing speed sessions at the minute. It's so frustrating to miss a session but I am much happier about missing speed rather than having to miss out on the hockey sessions.

I had a phone call from my club coach at Rotterdam during this centralised training. They lost the first playoff game and so he's trying to get me to go over and play next weekend. If we win on Saturday then it would take it to a third game against Amsterdam on the Sunday. I really was unsure whether to go over more so because it was a free weekend and I was thinking what would be best for my body. However after talking to my GB coach yesterday and the thought of how many playoff games will I ever get to play in I've decided to go over to play and see my team. I always enjoy it so much and there'll be no pressure so I can just go out and play. It's all a bit rushed, I'm flying out tomorrow but now that it's booked I'm really looking forward to it. I'll let you know how it goes in my next blog as by the time I return it'll be May already and we will be into our block of Heat Acclimatisation training!!

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