Helen Howell's Vitality Back To Hockey journey

Helen Howell
Helen Howell tells us how - after more than 20 years away from the game - she picked up a stick again.

'I first heard about Back to Hockey through a school mum friend who had been playing for the club for a while, and having really enjoyed hockey at school I thought I would give it a try. I had last played at school when hockey was on bumpy fields with wooden sticks and football-style stud boots. After I left school I worked for a year, before university and as I wasn’t aware of a local club, hockey slipped off my radar.

'I turned up for my first Back to Hockey session and actually sat in my car for a good five minutes wondering whether to go onto the pitch or not. I was really nervous and couldn’t remember all that much about the game! I didn’t have a stick, astro shoes or any understanding of the rules but as soon as I ventured out of my car I was made to feel immediately welcome. Angie Cottee led the sessions at Fleet and Ewshot and she was excellent from the start. She was encouraging and supportive and made all of us newbies feel we could do no wrong and should just enjoy having a go. These sessions ran for six weeks and I attended all of them, as after my first session I felt really positive about being able to pick up the sport again and enjoyed being part of a team with all the other ladies that came along.

'I have made so many new friends thanks to Back to Hockey as everyone was so friendly and supportive, and as a result of the experience I did the summer hockey sessions and then became a club member. Back to Hockey was one of the best experiences I’ve had and playing mini matches and learning how to slap and hit the ball were definite highlights for me and increased my confidence no end. 
'I enjoyed it so much that I did Back to Hockey again last year and have now progressed to play for the Ladies 3’s team as part of our local league.  Hockey is more than just the game for me – it feels fantastic to be part of a club and team that is so encouraging and supportive to all and the social side is excellent too - we have a number of events over the year culminating in a dinner dance to celebrate achievements of the season which is a real highlight.

For those thinking of starting Back to Hockey I would say to “Go for it!”  At the very least you will have fun sessions exercising outdoors, making new friends and having a go!'


Find your local Vitality Back To Hockey session here.