Helen Richardson Professional Hockey Player Interview

Helen Richardson

The following is an interview with Helen Richardson, who is an England and Great Britain international Hockey player. Helen became the youngest female hockey player to represent Great Britain at an Olympic Games in 2000. Since then she has accrued over 200 caps for her country.

Some of Helen’s greatest achievements include winning the World Cup bronze medal in 2010, three Commonwealth Games medals and five European bronze medals. Personal accolades include the World Player of the Year nominee and being named three times in the World All Stars Team.

Although already a double Olympian, Helen is currently working very hard to achieve a lifetime dream, the Olympic Gold medal in London 2012.


  1. What has been the best piece of advice you have received?

I always remember hearing this quote by Vince Lombardi and it sums up everything for me.

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will”


  1. How important is nutrition to your success and performance?

Getting my nutrition right is so essential for me to be able to perform at the highest level. The pure volume of our training requires a minimum amount of food just to have enough energy to keep going. Our match schedules are pretty tough as well with tournaments sometimes involving 7 matches in 12 days. By getting the right foods in it helps me repeat the same performance in game 7 as I give in game 1. Over the past few years I’ve also learnt to use food to build up my immune system which gets suppressed by training. I always try to use ginger, chilli or garlic when cooking to stop me getting ill!


  1. Please could you outline your nutrition during a normal training day and then on a competition day?

Breakfast: Muesli with blueberries and Greek yoghurt, pineapple juice.

Post training snack/shake: Depends on the session but it’s normally a high protein shake with some carbs or just a snack bar.

Lunch: Anything from a chicken wrap with hummus and salad to soup to an omelette with some fruit.

Post training or afternoon snack: Same as the morning if I’ve trained or just some nuts or a wholegrain yoghurt.

Dinner: This varies a lot but usually involves chicken or fish in some sort of stir fry with plenty of veg incorporating the ginger, chilli or garlic somewhere!

On match days this doesn’t change too much. I can’t eat too close to the matches anyway because I don’t like to feel full when I play. The recovery part is important though to get the right amount of protein and carbs in straight away.


  1. Please could you outline what a normal day of training involves?

A typical Monday for us involves a two hour hockey session in the morning. This is usually high intensity, focusing on anything from small sided games to tactical unit play to goal scoring.

In the afternoon we’ll complete a weights session which tends to include some injury prevention warm-up drills, jump squats, back squats, sumo dead lifts, bench press, chin ups and core. The sets and reps will depend on what phase we’re in.

In between sessions is normally a good time for physio or massage if it’s needed or to do individual video work.


  1. What advice would you give to anybody wanting to get fit and improve their health?

Have a goal - I think the first thing to establish is where you want to get and why. Once this is clear you can start to think about how you’re going to get there. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, how will you ever get there?!


  1. From your experience, for instance pre-season training, have you got any tips on how to stay motivated when the training gets tough and challenging?

There are two things that definitely help me when things start to get a bit tough, which they will!

During a tough session when all I want to do is stop, I think about the goal I’ve set myself and how much I want to achieve it. I actually visualise myself stood on top of the Olympic podium. The extra energy this gives me is quite unreal at times.

Secondly I am so lucky to play within a great team. Training with your friends or creating training groups can make it so much more enjoyable. Also when you’re having a bad day there will be someone there to keep you going.


  1. What has been the highlight of your career?

My highlight to date is without a doubt winning the World Cup bronze medal in 2010. Having played in Olympics and World Cups and not achieved what we’d wanted, to finally win a medal on the world stage after 12 years was extremely satisfying. I’m not done yet though and I’m training hard along with the whole team to be able to have an Olympic highlight!


I would like to say a big thank you to Helen for taking the time and effort to answer these questions and providing an insight into her professional lifestyle, it is much appreciated. I am sure it will provide a useful insight into the life of a professional athlete and help you to pick up some advice and tips that you can use to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Also, thank you to Helen for providing the above image of her in action.

Thank you for your time and feedback. It is really appreciated.

“Together, we’ll achieve your goals”

Matt Swierzynski

E: matt@mattswaz.co.uk

M: 07936654876

W: www.mattswaz.co.uk



"Matt's enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment has helped me to get to where I am today. He keeps in regular touch during the week and is always there to answer any questions or to give you that extra motivational push on days when you might need it. "