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The Road to Rio: How it all Comes Together

Posted on September 13, 2016 by Kirsten Pearce | 0 comments

Olympic athlete NZ Black Stick Kirsten Pearce

Hey EDGE fans,

Being an elite athlete requires a lot of time and effort put into training to ensure that our team can perform at the highest level on the world stage. This is reflected by what is required of the team and as individuals in the team when training both on and off the hockey field. In relation to what our training program typically looks like you will usually see the @nzblacksticks completing 2-4 sessions a day with usually one day off for a recovery/regeneration day. These sessions include anything from strength and conditioning to group hockey trainings, position specific training sessions, team building sessions, scouting sessions, psychology seminars, yoga, team meetings, recovery post training sessions (i.e. ice baths or roller sessions) as well as the option of doing individual sessions with our coaches especially if we have a specialised skill to work on (i.e. short corner skills).

In our preparation for Rio we had a simulation training phase where our whole squad was centralised on the North Shore of Auckland where we would more often than not be seen at North Harbour Hockey stadium and surrounding facilities, namely AUT Millennium. North Harbour was the first representative club that I began playing hockey for in New Zealand when I was 7 years old. I first began playing on pitch 4 which is the sand turf down at the bottom of the hill where I would wear my Target Road Primary School uniform or my North Harbour baggy top tucked into one of those old school netball skirts.. you know the ones with the pleats.. Driving back past pitch 4 heading up to the water-based turfs brings back so many fond memories from back in the day where I would either be playing or watching my brother and his teammates play for NH at the Hatch Cup all those years ago. Training at North Harbour has also been an ideal location to get to and from the AUT Millennium facilities which is where we are able to use a number of services which benefit all athletes which include gym, physio, nutritionists, life advisors, recovery facilities, meeting up with coaches, a place to hang out in between sessions or even to just grab a coffee or some lunch. Having so many facilities in one location provides a convenient venue along with a holistic environment to assist us all not only with the life that comes with being an athlete but by also providing guidance and options for life after sport.

As a striker a major focus for us is obviously:

  • goal scoring,
  • eliminations,
  • creating good pressing lines,
  • counter attack and
  • connections with our teammates.
After team training sessions as a striker group we would spend a bit of extra time practicing all types of shots within the circle. For myself after coming back from fracturing my thumb I spent a lot of time working on getting my grip back and hitting the way I normally would. I would usually be tapping around a hockey ball before and after sessions or even around the house just to get my touch back. In terms of being 'Olympic-fit' I don't think there is a major difference in terms of what type of fitness we do in accordance with different positions on the field. Regardless of where we play on the field, as a NZ Black Stick we pride ourselves on being a really fit team no matter who the opposition are and this is a driving factor for us when playing all of our games.

If you want to keep up to date with my journey with the @nzblacksticks  follow me on: www.facebook.com/KirstPearce18, instagram: @kirst_pearce18 or twitter: @kirstenpearce18




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