July 17, 2014, by Mike Munro
Going for gold in Glasgow
Hi, my name is Harry Martin and I’ll be going into the third year of my Economics degree this September. I’m also a member of the England and Great Britain hockey teams and have been asked to give an insight to our preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow along with life as a student-athlete.
I got my first cap aged 17, my first tournament being the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi. During my gap year I moved down near Bisham Abbey in Berkshire where we train and became a full-time hockey player. I was fortunate enough to play in the London 2012 Olympics, which was an unforgettable experience in so many ways. We ended up finishing 4th, which was devastating coming so close to a medal we’d worked so hard for. I can now look back and appreciate how incredible the two weeks had been and accept that 4th was still an achievement and perhaps a fair reflection. I did, however, find it very hard to deal with the disappointment and this was coupled with the very real Olympic comedown that you hear everyone talking about.
Fortunately I started university soon after and, as I’m sure many of you know, it’s very easy to find distractions, especially during first year. I made quite a few mistakes in trying to find the hockey/work/social balance with my hockey performance and work suffering in particular. I’m a lot better at finding the balance now though and I am focused on being the best I can be leading up to Rio 2016. I have a part-time contract with the hockey and this allows me to be up in Nottingham most of the week to attend lectures and tutorials. It’s difficult living between two places but both the University and England hockey staff have been very supportive and made things a lot easier for me.
After a heavy block of training and matches, we have just had a light week with a bit of gym and running before heading up to Glasgow. We won the London Cup last week, which was held at the new Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre stadium in the Olympic Park.
It was the first time I’d been back since 2012 and it was pretty cool to see everything again and see the local area benefiting from the facilities. A highlight was recovery sessions in the Olympic diving pool.
We’ve been playing well and scoring a lot of goals, so we’re confident going into the Commonwealths. I’ve struggled a lot with injuries over the past year but am now feeling fully fit and looking forward to it. Although I’m still the youngest I’m now one of the more experienced members of the squad and it feels very different to four years ago when I had literally no idea what to expect.
Unfortunately I have to do some revision during the tournament as I was in India during the January exam period. I’m taking those exams in August instead, which is pretty depressing. I tried to read through some notes the other day and only managed ten minutes before needing a nap — doesn’t bode well! I will try and give another update during the tournament.
If you want to keep up to date with our progress during the Games, follow me on one or more of these accounts:
Or alternatively, take a look at my website: www.harrymartin9.co.uk
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