In our latest Coaches Corner article, we meet Adrian Lock, the Englishman who has taken Spain to the brink of a top 10 world ranking and a place at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, London 2018.
FIH: Last year you spoke about your team needing to improve consistency, where would you say you are at the moment and what are you still looking to improve before the World Cup this summer?
Adrian Lock (AL): I think we have grown as a team since Rio 2016. We have gained more tournament experience, some good and some not so good, but it has given us a chance to reflect and allowed us to improve our mentality. This is one of the keys to achieving greater consistency.
Our performances in recent test matches have been pretty good and we look like a more solid and compact unit. This is despite rotating players to give experience to as many players as possible. We want to keep improving this mentality towards the World Cup so we have a balanced psyche during the tournament. I think we have enough experience now to know how to deal with anything that may be thrown at us during the competition.
"I think the lower ranked teams have been gradually creeping up on the higher ranked teams and I expect the World Cup to be full of surprise results, creating a tense and exciting tournament."
Adrian Lock, Spain Head Coach
FIH: How will your team prepare mentally and physically for the challenges ahead?
AL: We have been working more individually with the players, looking at their objectives and helping them understand what they can do to achieve those objectives. That has kept players focused on the present and on the process of improvement.
On the physical side, we are always looking to improve, so again we have created a more personalised environment to adapt to the different life situation of each player to help them reach their peak in time for the World Cup. Sometimes, it’s difficult to find a balance between work/studies, club hockey, international hockey and real life. I feel that the players are more experienced now, which has helped them to organise their lives better and recover better. This helps them take maximum advantage of the training they do.
FIH: How often do you meet and train with the team?
AL: Outside of training camps, we train between one to three times a week in our performance centres in Barcelona and Madrid. Some players who play abroad in the Netherlands, Germany or Belgium will come to Spain occasionally to train in the midweek and then return home to play with their clubs at the weekend. They will have their specific routines which they do with their clubs that looks to replicate the work that we do in Madrid and Barcelona.
Sometimes it would be nice to have the whole team together more often; on the other hand, playing in different leagues with different styles of hockey can be a positive experience which helps players grow.
FIH: What preparation matches/ training are planned between now and the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, London 2018?
AL: In January we played a test series in Australia, a test series against Ireland in February and then a test series against Germany and China in March. Now the players are with their clubs for European competitions. They will take a short break and then it's straight into training camps and matches.
We play India in Madrid, then England at the World Cup venue, a Four Nations in Holland and finally Canada in Madrid before travelling to London.
FIH: What are the qualities you are expecting Spain to show in London?
AL: I expect us to play fast, aggressive attacking hockey, creating lots of goal-scoring opportunities and to fight hard in each game from start to finish. I expect to work as a team, to be positive and to find solutions to situations that we come up against. I think the lower ranked teams have been gradually creeping up on the higher ranked teams and I expect the World Cup to be full of surprise results, creating a tense and exciting tournament.
Spain open their Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018 campaign with a Pool C match against Argentina on 22 July. For the full schedule, click .