Name: Elen Nicholls
How and when did you first start playing hockey?
I first started playing hockey when I was 8 years old. I attended a one day camp at Polo Farm in Canterbury during the holidays and loved it.
What position do you play?
Centre Back in defence.
What does a typical week look like for you?
I train with my club twice a week – an indoor and an outdoor session, and on weekends I have matches, sometimes on both Saturdays and Sundays. School hockey takes place 4 times a week, again with matches most weeks. I follow a strength and conditioning programme, set by Hockey Wales in order to improve my strength and speed.
You have had quite the week getting called up to the Wales U18 squad! Congratulations! What are you goals for the future?
Yes, I’m very happy, thank you. In the future I would like to get a hockey scholarship to America and study law while playing out in the States. In the short term I would like to be selected for the under 21 Welsh Squad for the European Championship this summer.
Out of the many games you’ve played in your career so far, what is your favourite game you’ve taken part in?
I really enjoy representing Wales and every game is important to me. The most memorable was beating England last summer during the 4 nations, an achievement that was recognised and acknowledged by senior Welsh ladies and GB players.
As well as being a very talented Hockey player, are there any sports or hobbies you enjoy doing?
I’ve always loved sport and one of my favourites was Karate. I used to train 3 times a week and competed at the national championships when I was 10 placing silver. I then became National Champion in the 4’6” u16 category for the following 2 years. It’s helped me gain strength and confidence but also a good mindset when faced with challenges in sport and life.
How has the Sports Excellence programme at St Lawrence College helped and supported you so far?
The Sports Excellence programme is amazing especially having coaches that you grew up watching play on TV. It is incredible to have such great support but having an athlete mentor who works with you and helps you succeed.
The gym and other sport facilities are always available to use and have helped me train as I can’t go outside of school due to time issues. The school is also very supportive in helping me keep up to date with any school work I’ve missed due to playing hockey.
Do you have any advice for anybody else interested in learning more about Hockey or wanting to improve their skills?
There are a lot of hockey clubs in Kent, so if you’re interested then definitely give it a go. Hockey clubs are a great, energetic environment where everyone is welcome no matter how good you are. As for wanting to improve a skill, never give up. It can be difficult sometimes to keep motivated when you fail but the end result is absolutely worth all the effort.