Hannah Larkin is a year 13 pupil at Hereford Cathedral School, a 1st XI hockey player and regional netball player.
I have netball club training after school. I play goal attack for school and we are developing our skills on cutting in front of defenders when receiving passes. As it is hockey season, netball is not my predominant sport until January. However it is my favourite so I am always keen for these sessions as I get the chance to play and improve. Our 1st team recently qualified for the West Midlands tournament in January. Last year we did extremely well and hope to do the same again this year so we are all training extremely hard.
I have the school’s athlete development pathway, which is new to our school programme but is already proving to be popular. This focuses on injury prevention by learning the proper technique of movements when carrying out exercise. Cardiovascular and muscular endurance work is also incorporated into this, which has already shown to be extremely beneficial to my other sports. So far we have done sprinting, squatting, turning and press ups.
Today is the annual Hull Cup at my school, which is where all four of our school houses compete in a cross country race. This takes place at our local leisure centre where each lap is a mile and three quarters. We are given the option to do one or three laps. I choose three. After only five minutes of running though, my friend and I spot a year 7 with a severe nosebleed so we stop to help. Another friend of mine Owen, who was destined to win the senior boys race, is the first to stop and sacrifices his own result to help the younger student. We stay with her for 15 minutes until the school nurse arrives and then carry on to complete our first lap. Despite being a lap behind the whole school, we decide to complete our three laps and eventually cross the finish line – last but a moral victory for our house.
I have hockey club training after school until 5.30pm. I play centre forward for the 1st team. We focus on attacking into the D to increase goal scoring as this is an area we are particularly weak in. This involves firstly shooting openly into the goal, then passing and shooting, and finally, to progress, we add in defenders to create a real game situation. To end the session, we have a full 11-a-side game against the 2nd team to put our learned skills into practice.
This is not a busy sports day and I have free periods until late morning, so I go to the gym. I have created my own training programme to improve my cardiovascular endurance and stamina whilst also toning up my main muscle groups. I hope this will eventually show the necessary results and help my overall fitness during netball and hockey.
As we have no school game this weekend due to half term, Dad takes me to the astroturf to practise some 3D hockey skills. He used to be a very talented hockey player himself so I have a lot to learn from him. We start with shooting to warm up my strike and then begin to play with the ball off the ground with hit ups and lifts. These two skills are extremely beneficial in a game as it makes it a lot easier to get past a defender and hit it into the game, especially at my position. We finish with one on ones into the D and, needless to say, he is the more successful.
If I do not have hockey games, I play for my local netball club Westside, in a regional division in Walsall. But as it is my last year, I have put my school commitments first.