Tour Update: Champions Challenge GOLD

The Hockeyroos have won GOLD at the Champions Challenge tournament in Ireland after beating the USA in the final 6-1. The tour was a very successful one for us. We came here to win and dominate the tournament but more than that, it was about playing well and putting all the skills and tactics together that we have been working on all year. This tournament was crucial for us! Our win here means qualification in the 2014 Champions Trophy and also a rise in our world ranking. Both of which have a huge impact on the future of the Hockeyroos.

The Champions Challenge started off well for us with 3 solid wins in the round games. Our game against India, who we play often, was a very strong game for us as we managed to put away 8 goals. Belgium and Wales are teams we don’t often face which means we have limited knowledge of how they play. Watching video and researching teams is a big part of our preparation and we are lucky to have access to hours and hours of game footage from games and tournaments all over the world. Every game we play is filmed and coded so we can view old games against certain opposition with the click of a button. Of course the main aim when approaching a match is to focus on our game plan but knowing your opponents does help a lot. I certainly have never played Wales during my career and not Belgium for a long time. European teams also bring a different set of skills. Belgium for example have a girl who can rip a slider better than anyone in the world. This is a powerful and very deceptive type of pass/shot. I was a victim to this slider in our first game against Belgium but luckily managed to save two before she got one passed. We comfortably won the game 4-1. Wales were our third opponent and certainly put up a good fight. It wasn’t until the last five minutes that we secured the win with two goals. Emily Hurtz played a stunning game scoring 3 of our 4 goal total. A hat trick in any sport at any level is a pretty cool achievement.

Our finals campaign started with a quarter final against South Africa which was a tough match. Having faced them recently at the Olympics in an equally tight match the team was feeling reasonably confident but equally a little nervous as with all finals. We prepared as we always do; breakfast, team walk and a stretch in the morning, lunch, pre game meeting then put the tunes on and start getting ready. Music is a big part of our preparation and tune selection is very important πŸ˜›

We played well against SA and created numerous scoring opportunities. They threatened us on just a few occasions so 2-1 was not a great scoreline but in a final you take a win no matter what the score. Our semi final was quite similar. We played Scotland who put up a good fight but thankfully our twin towers (Jodie Schulz and Anna Flanagan) both slotted a drag flick each to win the game 2-0.

Of courses it hasn’t all been about hockey. We have had a bit of time to explore Dublin, find some nice local coffee shops and go for some walks. Naturally, being the age we are, the internet consumes most of our time. My roomie Jade Close and I have tried to start a ‘no phone at meal time’ revolution but as you will see in the photo below it has not really taken off. Our excuse is that we like to stay connected and admittedly most of the time we are either skyping home or chatting to friends and family on Whatsapp. Oh and there is Twitter, facebook and blogs like the one you are reading. Ah well, its all good fun.

How it all ended:

Australia reclaimed their place at the top table with a comprehensive victory over USA to claim the big prize, the Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge 1 title, along with a place back in the Champions Trophy. In a 6-1 thrashing the Aussies controlled the game certainly outclassed a spirited US side.

Thanks as always for following and for the support. Bye for now

Results:
AUS V BELGIUM – 4:1
AUS V INDIA – 8:1
AUS V WALES – 4:0

QUARTER FINAL
AUS V SOUTH AFRICA – 2:1

SEMI FINAL
AUS V SCOTLAND – 2:0

FINALS
7TH Ind v Wal 4:0
5th RSA v Bel 1-2
3rd Sco v Ire 2-2 (IRE won 4-3 on penalties)
1st AUS V USA 6-1


The Vic girls


Trying to stay warm at the hockey

Goalkeeper speed work

Two attributes that are very important for all goalkeepers are speed and agility. Being able to move your feet quickly both forward and laterally gives you the best chance of getting into the right position for every shot.

Below is a video I have put together with the help of three of Australia’s greatest men’s goalkeepers. Nathan Burgers, Stephen Lambert and Stephen Mowlam are all inspirations to me, setting the bar so high with their abilities and success at an international level.

The footage is from a session they did back in 2008 in preparation for the Beijing Olympics. The guys are all very quick and coordinated so check out the video and try using these drill suggestions and see if you can get your speed and agility up to this level.

I use ladder drills as a way of getting my legs moving before a game or training so when I get my gear on I know that I will be feeling quick and sharp. It is also a great tool to use during the off season. Please ensure you seek the guidance of a coach or trained professional before trying these drills. As with all exercise, there is risk of injury.


video – rachaellynch.com.au

For warm up I like to use a variety of ladder drills but my favourites are:
– Single step in each square
– Two steps in each square
– Two steps in each square with high knees
– Lateral with two steps in each square once each way

This does not take long but make sure each one is done as quick as possible and with good technique

For more ideas have a look at this video I found on youtube…

Goalkeeper speed work | rachaellynch.com.au

How to do a gym workout on holidays

As a travelling athlete I often find myself having to be creative in order to complete my gym workouts or rehab exercises whilst away. A holiday at the beach, a trip overseas, a night in a hotel or just time away from your local gym are not good enough reasons to miss or drop back your strength training. I work very hard whilst in the gym so can not afford to go backwards when I am away on a tour or on a break from training. I have provided some tips below that I use so have a read and feel free to add some of your own. Keep in mind that I am talking purely about weights training and not cardio training.

If you are staying in a hotel whilst away then this is the type of gym you may have access too. A lot of hotels do have gym facilities but they are usually small and have minimal equipment. All you can do is make the most of what you have got.

There will almost always be a few dumbbells so use these to make basic exercises more difficult. eg. squats – double leg, single leg; lunges – forward, lateral; calf raises, sit-ups and all arm exercises. If there is a machine then make the most of the various exercise options it has. You can always lower the weight if its not something you normally do as part of your program. For chin ups you just need a bar or railing and push ups simply require some floor space.

A fit ball is another item that you may find in a hotel gym or have at home yourself. These are great for balance and increasing the difficulty of an exercise by providing an unstable base. Any arm exercise can be made harder by sitting on the ball or lying on it in a bridge type position. Again use your dumbbells here. There are numerous abdominal exercises around that are great when using a fit ball. Just sitting on the ball in good posture with your feet off the ground is great for your core strength and balance.

Theraband – What a great invention. This is something that I use everyday and carry with me whenever I travel overseas or interstate. They come in different colours and each colour has a different level of resistance. I use them mostly to strengthen my shoulders and prevent injuries as goalkeepers are very prone to shoulder problems. They are very easy to use and actually quite versatile. They can be tied to a door, jammed in a door, held under your feet or wrapped around anything that is heavy or fixed to the ground. You can just hold the end and pull or make a loop to put your hand or foot through. So many options. They can replace any exercise that you do on a pulley machine at the gym.

Now if all else fails and you cant find any equipment, proper weights or a gym then just use your friends. Find a friend that weighs the appropriate amount and then squat them. You may need to start off with a small child and please make sure you maintain good technique throughout. * Actually…Don’t try this at home!!

Finally, as with all exercise, it is very important you warm up and cool down appropriately. Stretching is a great way to keep your muscles in good shape as is using a foam roller. This is similar to getting a deep tissue massage but you can do it yourself and of course control the level of discomfort you cause. And yes it can be uncomfortable. You use it by lying on top of the roller then moving your body around so it moves up and down the particular muscle or muscle group you want to release. Quads, Hamstrings, adductors, calves, ITB or Gluts. You can also use it up and down your back.

I hope you have found my suggestions helpful. Please comment below if you have other ideas. I would love to hear from you.

These suggestions are my own and have developed over time with assistance from experienced professionals. Please seek guidance from your Physio, doctor or coach before attempting any of the above exercises. Especially squatting your friends!!

How to do a gym workout on holidays | rachaellynch.com.au

Cleaning your gear

As a goalkeeper I am fully aware of the reputation we hold of being ‘stinky’. This is something I am passionate about changing. I am convinced that a pair of shin guards will smell much worse than a well looked after set of goalkeeping gear.

A few things I would suggest that may help prevent the comments and ridicule from team mates about your stench:

1. Air your full kit out after every training session or game. I guarantee you will have sweat or water on your gear through contact with the turf

2. Wash your smock, cover shorts, bandana, neck guard, pelvic protector and arm guards (if detachable) at least once or twice a week. These items should easily fit in your washing machine. Front loaders are much more gentle on the gear but top loaders are also ok. Always wash the gear separate to your every day clothes.

3. Wash your shoes every few weeks. This can also be done in the washing machine or by hand in a bucket or sink.

4. Body armour is usually the main cause for smell so must be addressed somehow. I have tried washing it in the machine but due to the size it can be difficult and also may damage the gear or the machine. The best way I have found is to take a brush (best is the brush from a dust pan and brush) and a bucket of warm soapy water. Take the gear outside and use the brush to scrub the gear all over. Do not be afraid to use plenty of soapy water. Leave it hanging outside to dry for as long as you can then you should be right to go.

5. Finally I suggest you buy some face wipes from the supermarket. These can be used to wipe out the inside of your helmet. Another area that can get quite dirty, especially your chin strap.

I hope all these tips help. If you have any ideas of your own please feel free to share them below

Skills Session 10: Cleaning your Goalie Gear | rachaellynch.com.au

Nutrition tips – diet of an elite athlete

FRESH IS BEST

Food plays a big part of my everyday life. I love shopping for it, I love preparing it and most of all I love eating it. Being an elite athlete I have a high energy requirement but also need a wide variety of different foods to keep my body in good shape. Do not get me wrong. My diet is not perfect. I exercise for a few hours every day so I am not afraid to treat myself every now and then. I understand what I should and should not eat and over time I have learnt what is best for my body. Everyone is different and will require different types and amounts of food depending on their lifestyle. My priorities are to meet my high energy requirements, build and repair muscle and of course stay healthy and injury free. Below are some of my favourite foods and the foods I eat most regularly. Fresh is best!!

Snacks

My snack of choice is fruit. Fresh fruit or dried fruit is a great choice to have in between meals. I usually eat 3 or 4 pieces of fruit per day as it is healthy, portable and there is so much variety. I buy all my fruit (and vegetables) from the Subiaco markets as I know it is fresh. I buy a weeks worth at a time so that I will always have some available to take with my to training or work.

Lunch

My preferences when it comes to lunch is rice cakes, tuna/chicken salad or sandwiches. In my lunch I always try and have some form of meat or fish with salad. Its a great opportunity to be creative so I try and mix up my toppings on rice cakes or crackers or make different types of salads. In the photo below I went with avocado, tomato and ricotta cheese. As you can see I like pepper. It is important to include some form of carbohydrate but that does not have to be bread so sandwiches are not your only option.

‘On the go’

For a healthy snack after training or when I am on the go I like to have a smoothie. You can buy them at most cafes but its best if you can make your own. Just simply add your fruit of choice, light milk, yoghurt, honey and some ice. Mix it in a blender and you are good to go. If you want some extra protein then add an egg or egg white. Don’t worry it wont affect the taste.

Dessert

Growing up my family always had dessert after dinner so now that I live by myself I have carried on this tradition. Certainly not for everyone and something that needs to be combined with a healthy portion controlled meal. Fruit is always a great option. My dessert of choice is fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or mango with natural yoghurt. But if I am out and about then I’ll be having dessert at one of the my favourite places. Tutti Frutti. Here they sell various flavours of frozen yoghurt and all the mix-ins you could want. If you have not been before then I recommend you try blueberry and banana yoghurt with strawberries, coconut flakes and muesli. Delicious!!

Drinks

Staying hydrated is so so important, especially for athletes. Your body looses water and salts all the time so its important that you keep up your fluid intake throughout the day. Water is the best option generally but if you are undertaking exercise then you need to replace the sodium that is lost through sweat. Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are excellent for this but my choice is Aqualyte which is an electrolyte drink and is purely for rehydration unlike other sports drinks that provide sugar and energy.

If you are someone who has trouble drinking large amounts of water then try adding a small amount of low sugar cordial or even soda water for a bit of fiz.

Takeaway

Eating is a very sociable thing and so takeaway and eating out is part of most people lives. Athletes are no exception. Myself and the girls love going out for a meal or getting takeaway and eating by the beach or the foreshore so we have to be smart with our choices. Most restaurants have healthier options if you know what to choose but the best way is to go to places where the style of food is healthy. I am a huge fan of Asian food with Japanese and Vietnamese being my favourites. Both of which are pretty safe when it comes to healthy choices.

Treats

Everyone has their weakness and this is mine. Licorice. I certainly have a sweet tooth and my sweet of choice is Rj’s Licorice. All the way from NZ. It comes under the ‘sometimes food’ category as it is full of sugar but given the amount of exercise I do I allow myself this luxury every now and then. Yum!!!

Meat

I am lucky enough to have the support of my local butcher David from ‘THE BUTCHER SHOP’ in Victoria Park, Perth. This means I can make sure I get my three serves of red meat each week and therefore lots of protein and iron. I love nothing more than to have friends around for a BBQ and salad so its great to be able to serve up some beautiful meat.

Combined with seafood, chicken and lots of vegetables this makes up my weekly dinner menu.

These tips and ideas are all my own. For expert advise you should speak to a dietician or medical professional.

If you are interested in reading recipes or getting more tips and ideas please comment below. All photos are the property of Rachael Lynch from www.rachaellynch.com.au

Nutrition tips – Diet of an Elite Athlete | rachaellynch.com.au

I am an OBO keeper

Many people ask me for recommendations on gear so I thought I would put up a post with all the equipment I use. OBO lead the hockey world when it comes to Goalkeeping gear. They produce the very best quality equipment and have been keeping goalies safe for years. I have been lucky enough to have the support of OBO for my whole international career and I know that I can not play my best hockey without it on.

If you are looking at purchasing your first set of gear then I have two pieces of advice for you. Number one: Always try the gear before you buy it. Borrow some from your club, a friend or a team mate and try training in it to see if you are comfortable and like the feel of the gear. Number two: Buy gear that fits you perfectly. The gear is quite expensive and if you are a young keeper then yes you will grow out of it quickly but if it does not fit properly then you will not be able to move efficiently and your saves will be less effective. As a junior I was lucky enough to borrow gear from my school then Greensborough, my club. Every year I would save up for a new piece of equipment or put in a request to santa. If you need assistance just pop into any Hockey World or OBO store or you can email me through the site.

OBO Robo Hi rebound Leg Guards and Kickers

OBO Robo left and right hand Gloves

OBO Body Armour and Arm Guards

OBO Padded Shorts and Pelvic Protector

OBO Helmut and Neck Guard

Hockeyroos Goalie Smock

OBO Wheelie Bag

Special thanks to Steve Zang for the photos

I am an OBO keeper | Rachael Lynch

www.rachaellynch.com.au

Hi guys, I wanted to share with you all my new website that I’ve made. Similar to the OBO resources website, this site is for any goalkeeper who want tips and ideas that might help them to become a better goalkeeper. Check it out and tell me what you think. I have added 4 different skills sessions so far covering topics from stick and glove saves to warm up even juggling. I will also be blogging on there so you can all keep up with what the Hockeyroos are doing in the lead up to London 2012.

www.rachaellynch.com.au

Big thanks to OBO for the ongoing support

Rachael Lynch: champions trophy practice games 2 & 3

Morning everyone

We have played 2 games since I last wrote, one against Germany which we lost 3 nil and then yesterday we played Korea and won 2-1. The game against Germany was my first game and was certainly a game of two halves. The first half was the best we have played so far which was really pleasing but in the second half things didn’t go so well. They scored a field goal and were given two strokes. As always Adam took it as a real positive and we were able to take heaps of lessons out of the game. I guess this is why you play games before a major tournament. Yesterdays game against Korea was great. A much improved performance, so everyone is now feeling good about champions.

Today we fly to Holland with all the other teams and will hopefully have a bit of free time when we get there to check out our location. I have stayed at this hotel before but it was on my debut tournament so my memory of it is a little blurred. We still have two more practice games before the tournament so plenty more to work on but looking forward to getting stuck into it.

You may be pleased to know that we haven’t escaped the rain over here that facebook tells me everyone is experiencing back home. We were able to test out our new water proof jackets yesterday and luckily enough they came through with the goods. Ok better go pack. Chat soon

Sorry no photos this time

Rach

Rachael Lynch: champions trophy practice game 1

Hello from Germany

First day of games over and all teams are sitting even on 1 draw with 3 goals for and 3 against. We played the Argies yesterday and drew 3-3. It was a reasonable game and a pretty good start to the tour for us. The Argies were at full strength with the number one player in the world back after some time off and at one point we were beating them 3-1 so cant complain. One of our girls who was playing her first game scored a ripper goal after the goalie deliberately let it go in thinking it was outside the circle. Funnily enough though it wasn’t even close. Brain explosion I guess and a gks worst nightmare. I sat out yesterday and so had to watch the game through the video camera. Not nice. I was going cross eyed by the end. I did miss one of our goals so hopefully that will secure me a spot on the field next game and never filming again πŸ˜›

The other game, Ger v Korea was also a 3-3 draw which was pretty exciting. Goals are always great. The Koreans are playing one short now as in a practice match the other day an Argie smacked one of the girls in the jaw with her stick. Accident of course. She had multiple fractures and had to have surgery. ouch!!

Today is a rest day so not much happening but I have included a few photos for you to have a look at. Including one very unattractive one of Cronky and I where I look like a Gigantor! We got a new uniform before we left and our lovely sponsor decided to give us both small goalie smocks. We are both now at risk of dislocating our shoulders every time we put them on. Eeek! The other photos are just muck around ones. More to come.

Next game is against Germany so ill be in touch after that

Rach

4 nations champions

Hola again,

How are you all? Sorry for the delay between posts. Internet wasn’t great at our last hotel. So as you may have seen, in the last few days we have had some great success in Mendoza. We have played 3 games, firstly beating USA 1-0, then drawing with the Argies 1-1 to get us into the final, then beating the Argies last night with a goal in extra time. What an exciting game it was. We had a really tough match against them the previous day so were all feeling very tired and sore. Cronky had played a blinder to keep us in it and we were very happy to draw with them which put us in over the Germans.

The game was as tough as we had expected but this time we were all over them in the first half. I only had a few saves to make and so we were looking good going into half time. Our only problem was that we had lost one of our defenders Anna who got hit on the hand. Turns out she had smashed her knuckle so today flew home for surgery. One of the other girls from perth has been called up and so will come to play the second leg of the tour here in Rosario. Anyway we didnt come out aswell in the second half and had 2 goals scored against us, both from Pc’s. Ash and Casey combined well to get one back but it was starting to look like it was all over. With less than 30 seconds to go we headed into the circle and just as the siren went the umpire blew a short corner for us. The Argies were going nuts of course but the umpire stuck to her guns. We had a secret weapon up our sleeves in Jodi Shultz who is a big Queensland girl who can drag flick. We hid this skill the whole time and chose to pull it out as a last chance effort to draw the game. It worked. Great goal and therefore extra time. We regrouped and decided that we didnt want to be out there any longer than necessary so said one chance and that has to be a goal. Within a minute we had another short corner. Secret weapon stepped up and bang..all over. Great effort by Jodes and our first gold medal as the new hockeyroos.

This afternoon we arrived in Rosario after a 2 hour flight and a 5 hour bus ride. Here we play all the teams again in another 4 nations tournament. Plan is to do it all again but with a few injury concerns it could be a bit difficult. Im looking forward to spending a bit of time wandering rosario again. It feels like only yesterday that we were here for the world cup.

I have attached a few photos so I hope you like them. Take care

Rach x