One of the great values inherent within our sport is its quality as a ‘family sport’. At hockey clubs around the globe, there are entire families whose sport of choice is hockey. It is not unusual for fathers and sons, mothers, sisters, aunts, to all be members of the same club.
And the history of international hockey also reflects the family-focused nature of the sport, with many siblings representing their country at elite level. We caught up with Great Britain and England’s midfield dynamo Hannah Martin, who revealed what a great inspiration brother Harry [also Great Britain and England] has been to her as she made her way into the international squad.
What influenced you to take up hockey as opposed to other sports?
Hannah Martin: “What influenced me to take up hockey as opposed to other sports, is that it was a team sport. I started playing hockey at school and I got to play alongside my friends which I absolutely loved. I love the fact that you can share all the moments both on and off the pitch.”
How helpful was it to have Harry a couple of years ahead of you as you followed the talent pathway?
Hannah Martin: “It was extremely helpful to have Harry a couple of years ahead of me when I was following the talent pathway because I always looked up to him. He was a huge inspiration and role model for me. I was just so proud of him and I just wanted to do the same. As siblings we were extremely competitive so anything he did, I also wanted to do. In all seriousness though, I am so proud of him and I especially remember watching every game at London 2012 and watching my 19-year-old brother absolutely crush it on the world stage. I thought this is just incredible and I knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps and I am incredibly grateful to him for all the guidance he has given me on my hockey journey.”
How involved have your parents been in your hockey career?
Hannah Martin: “Our parents have been very involved in our hockey careers. We were both so lucky that they were incredibly supportive of any sport we wanted to play when we were growing up. Our dad took us here, there and everywhere to play any sport we were playing at the time. Their support was immeasurable and we wouldn’t be where we are now without them."
Do you and Harry chat about hockey at family gatherings or do you steer clear of the topic?
Hannah Martin: “Harry and I tend to avoid hockey conversations at family gatherings just because it dominates both of our lives most of the time. When we are away from full-time training it is quite nice to just clear your mind and forget about it and listen to what other people have to say.”
What would you say makes hockey such a popular family sport?
Hannah Martin: "What makes hockey such a great family sport is that it is fast, quick, exciting and has a high skill level and that is what makes it a great team sport to watch. Also it is a sport for all, any family member can take part or get involved and that is what makes it so fantastic.”