Hockey Internationalist Robbie Croll

Meet Robbie Croll, former pupil and Scotland hockey internationalist.

You were Captain of the first XI when you were at SMC and you now play for the first XI at Edinburgh University Hockey Club where you are studying Medicinal and Biological Chemistry. How do you manage your time to ensure you are able to focus on your studies but also progress with your hockey?

In order to manage my time, I have to be organised and proactive when it comes to my studies. I am big on getting ahead with work and getting it done as early as possible so that there is no added last-minute stress when submitting lab reports and such like. Throughout the semester at Uni, our training is at set times each week so I can plan to work around them. If I am on top of my work it allows me to focus fully on the training and games and hence keep developing throughout my Uni career.

How have you maintained a training regime during the pandemic with restrictions on playing with teammates?  Have you found it a challenge to stay motivated?

During the first lockdown, when we were all at home, we were set some challenges by the coaches on our WhatsApp group which included running, physical and hockey challenges. This was really helpful to continue training as it was competitive and provided structure to our weeks which was severely lacking. At times it was definitely a struggle to stay motivated but keeping in contact with others and the thought of being back on the pitch kept me going. Fortunately, since January, the Scotland U23/Senior Men have been able to train normally under the elite athlete dispensation in the build up to a slightly more ‘normal’ summer of hockey with test matches and a European Championships in August.

Are there any significant moments from the weekend in Wales that you would like to mention to our community? Did you have a favourite match or moment with the Scotland squad or on the pitch?

My favourite match was game number one against Wales - we came out on top, winning 4-2. Just to receive my first cap was amazing, but to top it off with a win was extra special. Wales are currently ranked higher than Scotland and were training for the European A division just a few weeks after our test matches which made the result all the better.

Did you have much time to prepare for the matches in Wales or was your selection quite late notice? We’re aware you had exams at University in the run up to the matches that weekend, how did you balance your need to study with your need to prepare for the upcoming matches?

Selection was very short notice and a complete surprise. Due to my exams, I had only been able to attend one 2-hour training session with the senior squad so could never have anticipated being selected. I actually had a 24hr exam starting at 1pm on the Thursday but the bus down to Cardiff was leaving at 7am on the Friday. So, my last exam was a little bit of a rush, having to get it submitted on the Thursday night. This meant I did not really have much time to even think about the matches down in Wales until I actually arrived.

Was your selection for the Scotland squad a surprise or was this a goal you were aiming to achieve in terms of your progression with hockey?

As I said before, it was a complete surprise. We had also had a few mixed regional sessions with U23’s and seniors, but I had only attended one session just with the senior squad alone. This was definitely a goal of mine; however, I just did not expect it to happen this soon. I did feel I had been training well since the restart in January so it was nice to be recognised in this way and hopefully I can continue playing well.

Tell us about anything particular you do in your personal life to maintain your fitness and health? Ie do you avoid certain foods or types of activity to prevent injury.

Fitness is a massive part of hockey. We have dedicated S&C coaches for both Scotland and Uni teams who provide fantastic running and gym programmes to help us develop and maintain our levels of strength and fitness over a season. We also have access to quality physios who can sort us out if we have any little niggles, to prevent any bigger injuries. I wouldn’t say I avoid any foods but the most important thing is balance and having things in moderation.

What has been your worst injury connected with hockey?

I dislocated my shoulder when playing indoor hockey for the school. Landing on a hard wooden surface is definitely not recommended. Luckily, I was only out for around 6-8 weeks but it’s certainly not fun being stuck on the side-lines.

What other sport would you do if you weren’t playing hockey?

I played a lot of tennis when I was younger, touring around Britain playing lots of competitions. I eventually chose hockey as I love the team aspect and having the support of others whilst playing.


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