In the London Test Event we play against Germany, Great Britain and India, all very tough teams and it will be a good test for us as a team and individually. After London we head to Belgium to play a couple of games and then to Germany for a few more games. All up, 3 countries, 24 days, 8 games and a whole lot of pressure.
Its starting to get into selection period and this is when you see a lot of different personalities and moods from the players in the squad. So far its been easy, everyone has been given an equal opportunity but from now on the selectors have to narrow it down. There are 24 players on this flight ( 4 players left at home) and everyone is trying to make the Olympics. In my opinion there are only 8 players that are certain to make the Olympic team.
In 2004, we went on a similar trip to this one. We went to Europe 3 months before the Olympics and I must admit that it was the worst tour that I’ve ever been on. The pressure on the players was at an ultimate high and everyone wanted to impress the coach/ selectors. I’m sure this one will be similar.
In January 2012, I wrote down a couple of things that I wanted to do this year leading up to the olympics.
1, Keep improving as a hockey player and concentrate on myself and not get caught up in how the other guys are going.
2. Enjoy the journey. Not many people get to do what I’m doing, so I must enjoy it and have fun. Of coarse some days are going to be challenging but not everything is easy, that’s what makes it so special when you actually achieve your goals.
I’m going to stick with these goals of mine and I’m hoping this trip will run smoothly.
Not only do the players have it tough, the coaches/selectors also feel this pressure. The coaches know how much all 28 of us would like to go to the Olympics but its not possible. They have to pick, what they think, is the best 16 players in Australia. Not an easy job, especially with the talented group that we have at the moment.
I think its much easier for coaches if they didn’t know our personalities. I remember Barry Dancer ( Australian Men’s Coach 2001-2008) really struggled when he had to select the team, especially between 2006 – 2008 because he knew us so well. We are like family and he had to tell a few of us that our dreams will not come true. I see the same happening with RIc Charlesworth. The 2010 World Cup team was much easier for him because he didn’t know us as well as he does now. Now he knows nearly everything about us, our wives/girlfriends, our kids, what we do outside hockey etc. Its not going to be an easy job but as players we know this is how it has to be. We put ourselves in this position.
Hope you enjoyed the read.