Natalie Maclean is director of sport at Kingston Grammar School in Surrey and plays hockey for Surbiton 1st XI, the current English Premier League and Cup champions.
A former England international, the mum-of-one (to son Archie) is one of 26 former Kingston pupils to have competed at the Olympic Games.
What schools did you go to?
Newland House School and then Kingston Grammar (I have now been here longer as a staff member than as a student).
What’s your earliest sporting memory?
Sports day at Newland House when I was six. I won the athletics cup which I was chuffed to bits about but it soon became evident that I had been wearing my shorts the wrong way round the whole day. It was only pointed out to me during the presentation. Needless to say, I was mortified. I still have the photographic evidence.
Who were your sporting heroes growing up?
Linford Christie, as I wanted to run in a 100m Olympic final just like him. I clearly remember being glued to the TV screen during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and thinking ‘I want to do that. I want to compete at the Olympics.’
What are your best and worst sporting memories of school?
My best would be playing tennis at Kingston Grammar during the summer term. The worst would be having to wear gym knickers at prep school (they really were awful).
Can you recall a memorable sporting teacher?
Mrs Price at Newland House. She was a great PE teacher and helped motivate me to do my very best. She recommended that I take up hockey and so I chose KGS for my secondary education and that was that. I went on to become KGS’ first schoolgirl international. Unfortunately Mrs Price is no longer with us and I regret not thanking her for her advice and support back then.
What sports do you play these days?
I still play for Surbiton Hockey Club’s 1st XI who are current champions of the England Hockey Premier League (we did the double last year in the league and the cup). Juggling training and playing, family life and my new position at KGS is demanding but worthwhile. I also run, go to the gym, swim and occasionally play tennis (when I have the time).
In what other ways do you stay healthy?
My husband and I try to cook everything from scratch to ensure that we are not eating too many processed foods. We are definitely an ‘everything in moderation’ family.
What is your favourite sporting memory?
Making the final four in the European Club Championship for Slough Hockey Club was amazing. We were such a great team, had lots of laughs along the way and played against some fantastic players (such as Naomi Van As). We were nicknamed GB/England ‘vets’ on tour. Outside my own sport, it’s when Jonny Wilkinson scored that drop goal in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final. When I mention it to my students, they don’t have a clue as many of them weren’t even born then.
What’s been your most embarrassing sporting moment?
I have a number of embarrassing sporting moments but this is not the appropriate audience to share them with.
What’s your biggest sporting bugbear?
Still the lack of women’s sport coverage in the papers. It’s getting better on TV though with a greater number of presenters and specific programmes targeted at women.
When was the last time you cried at a sporting event?
When I tore my anterior cruciate ligament in my right knee. That was painful and a shock to realise what the rehabilitation would entail. I had to go through the whole thing again a few years later with my left knee but I didn’t cry that time.
Which three sports people would you like to have around for dinner and why?
Jessica Ennis-Hill who is a fantastic role model to women and new mothers. I would ask how she manages to juggle being a mum and a top-class athlete. Jonny Wilkinson who I am such a huge fan of and still respect everything that he has done as a player. I do not think as a country that we valued him enough. Finally it would be Luciana Aymar. I would love to find out about the person behind the legend that is the star of Argentinian hockey.
MY SPORTING LIFE