Photo credit to Rikki Temi of RMT Photography
Guest blog by Amy Wilson-Hardy
The Rugby World Sevens Series is in full swing and there is everything to play for. The England Rugby Sevens girls have recently come back from Atlanta and next month we could find ourselves back on a plane to Canada, should we be selected, for the next leg of the series. This year is vital as it is the qualifying year for the Rio Olympics in 2016, so the stakes are high, as only the top four teams automatically go through.
The coaches are constantly keeping us on our toes, be it through speed, strength, conditioning or rugby sessions. As the cold winter months pass us by, there is a growing positivity in training as the sun comes out to join us.
The 15s club season has finished for me, but Rachael (Burford) has one final very important game to play. Her team, Thurrock are facing Aylesford in the battle for the last spot in the Premiership next season. Since performing so consistently well in the Championship this season, Thurrock deserve to be promoted, especially as they have recruited some high quality players over the last two seasons. I will also face the personal battle of encountering Rachael in the centre should Bristol and Thurrock play one another!
As a squad, we often socialise outside our training environment. And having a home-cooked meal together is one of our favourite activities. In order to perform at our peak physically, it is vital to eat well. So the last time Rachael and I got together with our England Sevens' Squad team mates Danielle Waterman and Sarah McKenna, Lucy Bee coconut oil was an integral part of our meal.
The girls were treated to rump steak, with wasabi mash, red cabbage and tender steamed broccoli. The steaks were fried in coconut oil, and we also used it to make the mash into a lovely creamy consistency.
For pudding, we tossed some fresh banana and mango in the melted oil and served it alongside Greek yoghurt.
These times together when we can switch of from the intense rugby environment are so important. We learn the importance of differentiating between the times to focus and concentrate and the times to relax. This is especially important in the game of sevens, where we play three games a day for two days running. Between games, conservation of energy is essential and this is a time when players will put their feet up and listen to music or have a personal routine that suits them.
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