Hoops Connect ambassadors' Christmas routines

For most of us, Christmas means indulgence, with diets and exercise regimes thrown out of the window in favour of chocolate, booze and roast potatoes. But elite athletes don’t have that luxury. We talked to the Hoops Connect ambassadors to see whether they’ll be letting their hair down over the festive season.


   Laura Malcolm

“Christmas celebrations with teammates are a must!”

As our league starts quite early in the year you can’t really afford to take your foot off the pedal over the Christmas break.

Having said that we do usually get a bit of time away from team training which allows you to be very flexible with when and where you train. For me that’s usually in the morning so I get to enjoy time with family and friends throughout the day.

It’s an extremely testing time with all the food and alcohol temptations.

Many, many years ago my nutritionist gave me a Christmas ‘damage control’ sheet which is still very helpful. It involves lots of realistic alternatives that allow you to still enjoy the festivities without over indulging.

Christmas celebrations with teammates are a must! By the time we have reached Christmas we have battled through most of our pre-season together so it’s really great to just unwind and enjoy spending time together away from the court.

In my opinion if you don’t enjoy moments away from training together you don’t develop a deeper connection with your teammates.

Taking time off is massively important to refresh both physically and mentally. I often spend the festive break having a yearly catch up with various groups of friends because it is honestly near impossible to see them all throughout the year.

This allows me to step out of the netball bubble and reset ready to go again in the new year.


   Richard Bell

“Chocolate is my biggest weakness”

At the Giants, we usually have a small break over Christmas for about a week. But then we have games in late December so we have to be back soon after Christmas to prepare for those.

Christmas Day there are no dietary restrictions! But the rest of the break I’m pretty much eating healthy and also staying in the gym to maintain fitness. It only takes a few days to get out of shape!

Taking time out definitely helps to recharge the batteries. My family lives at the opposite end of the country so I don’t get to see them all that often.

It’s nice to go home and be with family, get some good food and take some time out.

Chocolate would probably be my biggest weakness. There seems to be a ridiculous amount of it available at Christmas time, and its almost impossible to escape!


    Toby Penty

“I’ll be out for a long run on Christmas day!”

Whether or not I take time off at Christmas really depends on my tournament schedule.

At the moment I’m carrying a couple of small injuries so my main aim is to be ready to start training at full intensity once we hit 2018. Till then I’ll be getting in some rehab, light training and some much needed down time.

This year has been very full on and I have taken limited time off so I’ll definitely be enjoying a few naughty treats and later evenings out with friends.

Chocolate is my Achilles heel. It always has and always will be, so it’ll be nice to indulge that a little!

But I still like to keep things ticking over. I like to use this time to have a good plan for 2018 with my coach and be really ready for training come the new year.

For me I want to retain my hunger to train and compete so taking time off here and there does that for me.

Injuries being okay though I will definitely be out for a long run on Christmas day morning and ticking over!


   Jack Richardson

“I’m pretty loose between Christmas and New Year!”

Christmas and New Year is a relaxed time in the polo community, and most pros take a few off to relax and have a catch-up with family.

I always take a break from full training from around December 16th to January 15th. In that time I’m pretty relaxed, and especially loose between Christmas and New Year!

Then I’ll knuckle down again in the new year. Chocolate and booze are my real weaknesses!

Most players head back to their families so I don’t see much of my team-mates – although maybe that would change if I started planning a Christmas party…

But it’s great to lead a normal life for a few weeks and to take your mind off the world of polo, hopefully it will leave me feeling recharged and ready to smash it going into 2018.


What’s next?

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