Heat, storms & goals – McCallin reflects on first tour of 2020


Shona McCallin looks back on an exciting tour for GB Hockey to Australia and New Zealand and how it felt to make her FIH Hockey Pro League debut, score her first GB goal and make her 50th appearance.

It’s crunch time for a lot of athletes at the moment. 2020 is here and for many of us that means only one thing… It’s Olympic year!

Time to dot the i’s, cross the t’s and make sure you, and your team, is the best prepared you can be. Everything just becomes that little bit more important.

Within the GB Hockey squad, the above certainly applies. Competition for places is at its highest for the first time in a long time – players are fit, performing well, pushing each other forward and, ultimately, giving the team the best shot at medalling in Tokyo this summer.

The year certainly started as it means to go on – fast and furious! The first week back saw us undertaking plenty of fitness testing which produced a solid set of results – just reward for the time and effort we put in over Christmas.

The second week involved getting back on the pitch and pushing for selection for the FIH Hockey Pro League trip to Australia and New Zealand, for which we jetted off on 19 January.

We arrived in Brisbane for a few days of acclimatisation (it was 33C or more every day, vastly different to what we’d left behind at home!) and training before heading to Sydney for our opening games of this year’s tournament.

It was my first experience of the league with GB and one I thoroughly enjoyed. One victory, one late defeat defeat, one shoot-out win and one match cancelled [GB were 1-0 ahead in their second game against Australia before storms curtailed the match and, because they’d won the game before, the hosts were awarded double points]. It was a good start for us and personally for me too as I played my 50th game for GB and scored my first goal.

 

Our coach Mark Hager gave the trip an 8/10 overall and that’s definitely something I would agree with. Our performances were good and the players coped well in the heat. Of course there are still areas in which to improve but we also have plenty of time to do so.

We’re now looking forward to a couple weeks back at Bisham training before heading away to South Africa on a training camp at the end of March, which should also be quite warm.

After a trip to The Netherlands in late April, the FIH Hockey Pro League will then return to London as we welcome Argentina, China, USA and Germany across various weekends in May and June.

It’s already been an exciting start to the year and I can’t wait for what’s to follow!

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