Adrian Lock is the English-born Head Coach for Spain's Red Sticks. He has been in position for five years and, over that time, he has overseen a hockey-shaped Spanish revolution, moving the team from a middle ranking nation to a team that is now knocking on the door of the big nations in the FIH Hero World Ranking top 10 – Spain are currently ranked 11th. On the day of this interview Lock's Spain had just recorded their biggest win in their World Cup history, beating South Africa 7-1. The previous record had been a 5-1 victory over Nigeria in Madrid in 1978.
Over the five years Lock and his team have been in charge, Spain have made steady progress, becoming more competitive on the world stage. This is evident in their performances in the Hockey World League, where they have twice competed in the HWL Semi-Finals. In 2015 they finished in sixth place, which earned the Red Sticks qualification to the Rio Olympics and in 2017 their seventh place finish was enough to get passage to the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup, London 2018.
"It is so good for people to see these women athletes. It is empowering as they show what women can achieve if they are given the opportunity" Adrian Lock, Head Coach, Spain
But for Lock it is about much more than skills and fitness – it is about player lifestyle and attitude. "I think a change in culture is the most important thing a team can develop," says Lock.
"Everything else becomes a consequence of that, fitness, skills and tactical awareness. It is long-lasting.
"In the past with Spain there has not really been a long term outlook, it has all been a bit short-term. The changing culture we have looked to implement since we have been there will allow us to change physically, to change mentally and will last within the team way beyond me and the current players."
The Spanish players are also aware of their responsibility as role models, particularly to girls and women. It is an area where Spain is playing catch-up with some of its counterparts, says Lock, but change is coming.
"There is a common goal among the players in wanting to be references for female hockey players across the whole of Spain and for it to have a long-lasting effect. I think the girls want to be an inspiration for people who play women's sport. We are one of the more successful women's team sports in the whole of Spain.
"It's changing but very slowly, During this tournament, many of the headlines will still be about where the footballers [male] are spending their holidays or what brand of rucksack they are carrying. But television is starting to spread the sport wider, as is online streaming of matches.
"It is so good for people to see these women athletes. It is empowering as they show what women can achieve if they are given the opportunity and it is a great example for kids."
Spain are currently in third place in Pool C, behind Argentina on goal difference.
The next round of matches on Saturday 28 July will decide who progresses through to the next round, with Spain playing pool leaders Germany and South Africa needing to win against Argentina to avoid the bottom position in the pool. Currently, only Germany are guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals, so wide open is the pool.
For all news regarding the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup, London 2018, click here.