Sam Ward - the goalscorer
Sam began playing hockey at the age of 5 at his local hockey club Leicester. A keen all-round sportsman he excelled at school but opted out of the single hockey system in his teenage years.
Returning with a vengeance and impressing in the national league he is now the leading forward in the GB set-up, reaching a milestone of 50 goals in 99 appearances since 2014.
Having won various bronze medals, most recently at the Commonwealth Games where Sam was the leading goal scorer, the GB squad are looking to progress further at the European Championships in Belgium in 2019 and in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
How would you rate the level of interest in playing hockey in the UK and have you noticed an increase in participation because of the last two Olympics?
“I think since the girls’ Olympic gold medal, it has increased the participation an incredible amount. I think this is fantastic and all about
growing the game. Time and again I am seeing junior participation in particular increase and this bubble will create the next generation of players entering the sport. ”
What are the next major tournaments for the squad and what do you hope
“We have the World Cup December 2018 and that is a huge chance for us to showcase and see how we are doing after the hard work we have done. We are fortunate that England Hockey provides funding for the group to train
professionally. For instance, when we return to training we may not even play hockey for a block (4 weeks) as the fitness and conditioning are as important as the skills we bring onto the pitch. So progression from the bronze medals we have won recently (as well as the Sultan Azlan Cup results) is the main objective.”
How important is the product that you use on the pitch?
The product is incredibly important to me. Having input into the design of the slightly different touch glove (I have the two middle fingers cut out so that the glove just protects the back of the hand as this is the most important area to avoid injury) and using such incredibly light sticks makes a huge difference to my game.