The Netherlands men’s and women’s national squads were the first teams to be back training together after the Dutch government began a phased relaxation of lock-down restrictions across the country.
There were strict rules in place, including all players keeping three metres from each other. But, as we hear from Netherlands’ captain Eva de Goede and Head Coach Alyson Annan in this interview, returning to the field of play after a long absence was a wonderful feeling.
video credit: Hockey NL and KNHB
How good did it feel to be back on the hockey pitch and in training?
Eva de Goede: “It felt great to be back on the training pitch today. It felt really amazing to be back with the girls and able to train. It was really exciting and everyone was super happy to be back training and we loved it. Small steps, baby steps but these steps were definitely in a good direction, so we were very happy about that.”
How did you manage to observe social distancing while training?
Eva de Goede: “Of course it is quite hard during these times, especially when it comes to keeping your social distance while training but we managed to do that quite well. We trained with six players on each half and we kept to three metres distance all the time. We had to make sure we kept to that. We had to wash our hands when we arrived and then we washed them again when we left. We have a lot of protocols we have to follow. But it is doable and it is great to be back on the field. We managed to do it quite well and it is amazing that we can train again.”
Are there things you learned about yourself while in lock-down that surprised you and that you could apply to your hockey preparation in the future?
Alyson Annan: “What we have learnt during this lockdown is that there are different methods to contact our players and communicate with them, which I will use in the future. I think that will help us prepare for games in times that we are not together.”
How excited are you at the prospect of returning to full training mode and competition?
Alyson Annan: “We have only just started back training so I don’t think it is right to be looking further and say we are excited about getting to full training method. It is important that we take this slowly and follow the rules of the country. We will take it in phases. The importance of getting it right is the most important at this stage. Being on the field with the protocol and regulations is good for now, so let’s take it slowly.”