From hockey ‘WAG’ to captain thanks to Back To Hockey

Sophie Tamlin
Sophie Tamlin from Basingstoke Hockey Club went from hockey ‘WAG’ to captain thanks to Back To Hockey.
Sophie had always been a sporty teen growing up, she was a competitive swimmer who reached the  national championships and swam competitively throughout university. But hockey wasn’t her sport even though her partner Sam - who she moved 100 miles away from home to be with - was.

Having never played hockey at school and having little interest in the sport, no amount of encouragement could persuade Sophie to have a go. "I just thought team sports weren't for me! I had always loved sport and challenging myself, but hockey had never interested me. In five years of living in Basingstoke, I had only watched Sam play hockey twice!"

Getting bored of becoming 'widowed' by hockey every Saturday, Sophie began to become more socially active in the club and started to spend more time at the clubhouse. "The people at Basingstoke HC are a really welcoming and sociable group. I started to be encouraged more and more to have a go and was finally persuaded to go to the club's Back To Hockey scheme.” 

Basingstoke HC run ‘Back To Hockey’ each year, a programme designed for everyone (regardless of ability) to get into, or back into hockey. The sessions have coaches who support players who are returning to the sport and total beginners alike.

“I remember being really nervous - the scheme was called ‘Back To Hockey’ but I had never played hockey and didn't even know how to hold a stick!

"I needn't have been nervous! The coaches were so supportive and the whole group were lovely. As the weeks went by, I grew in confidence (and skill!) and there was no doubt that at the end of the scheme that I would be joining the club."

Joining Basingstoke HC in the development team (Ladies 6s), Sophie was able to continue to improve her skills with coaching, and experience her first taste of a competitive match. "I really love the camaraderie of meeting up every Saturday and playing games. Through the back to hockey scheme I made lots of close friends who are also in my team and it's great to play matches with them every Saturday!"

A month into Sophie's first season, an opportunity came up to become captain of the ladies 6s and she jumped at the chance."I loved it so much I wanted to be as involved as I could. The coaches and other players around the club are fantastic, so I knew if I needed support I wouldn't be on my own." 

Two seasons down and Sophie has continued to improve, leading the Ladies 6s to achieving 2nd place in their division, being voted ‘Most Improved Player’ for the ladies section and ‘Ladies 6s Player of the Season’ at this season's Basingstoke HC annual awards ceremony.

When asked her favourite part of back to hockey, Sophie replied, "I really found a love of hockey which I never thought I would. The hockey family is truly amazing. The support from the club, coaches and other players is brilliant."

Sophie Tamlin 3
Sophie's advice to anyone thinking about having a go - "don't knock it until you try it!"