Kate Richardson-Walsh: Finding a way to win

Kate Richardson-Walsh

Great Britain’s 2-1 win over the USA on Saturday night meant Danny Kerry’s side have won five games from five in the pool stages of the Olympic Games. From both outside and inside the group the achievement is an impressive one. The momentum the team is building is very important in tournament hockey.

“If you’d offered us top spot at the start of the week I’d have bitten your hand off.” says Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh. “The momentum we’ve created is good. All the sides are excellent in this tournament so I’m really proud of what we’ve done so far.”

Great Britain are the only team in Rio with a perfect record and have achieved this by scoring 12 goals and conceding just four. Despite this dominance of their pool, they have not had things their own way:

“In all the games we’ve shown a bit of difference in what we can do.” says the captain. “We’ve been goals up, goals down, played with ten and played with nine. We’re showing we can do all kinds of hockey now we want to play at our best.”

That resilience and adaptability that Richardson-Walsh alludes to appears on the face of it; to come easily to the group, however it is no accident. Coach Danny Kerry is meticulous in everything he does and has laid the foundations for such skills over a long period of time at the team’s Bisham Abbey Headquarters. The coach’s now legendary “Thinking Thursdays” at training have ensured the Great Britain team are prepared for any scenario the game might throw at them. The sessions ensure they are adept at solving these problems on the pitch but also that they can, no matter what, “find a way to win.” The skipper explains:

“There are a lot of players who have been in difficult situations before so we are able to call on that. But also, every training session we work on dealing with different pressures and that has really paid off. We do a lot of scenario based work where we have to figure it out for ourselves, so when we are under pressure as we were in patches of the USA game; we all know what we are doing." she adds “In order to succeed, we need to listen to the tactics. Danny Kerry our coach is a fantastic tactician and he’s fantastic at getting his message across to us. If we do what he asks of us we’ll be fine. So far, that’s what happened.”

Great Britain now take on Spain in the quarter final. The match is live on BBC Sport from 10pm on Monday 15 August 2016. Whatever the Redsticks throw at them, Danny Kerry’s side will be ready.

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