Olympics 2012 Dutch hockey international Ellen Hoog- Stirred not Shaken

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Hockey forward Ellen Hoog is preparing  for this her  second Olympics in London having already won gold in Beijing with the national team but her inclusion in the squad was not always a given if we look back to last year . Due to a perceived dip in form the 26 year old suddenly found she had not made the selection for  the Champions Trophy in Rosario Argentina and having known the magic of the Olympics at Beijing ,the thought of not making London would, for her,  have been a disaster . (She had actually failed to get selected back in 2004  for Athens but then, she admitted , that was not so hard to take because she was still in her late teens .)

Max back in 2006 , Ellen right of him- in Madrid as assistant national coach for the world Cup but also he was Ellen’s club coach at Amsterdam for some time.

Max Caldas , ex Argentine international senior , whom she knows very well from the days when he was head coach at her club Amsterdam , typically,  did not crush her by dismissing her outright. He offered her hope the very next day after the bitter blow of her exclusion when he  had a long conversation with her. He  told her what she had to do to get back to the standard he wanted from all the national players and she took that on , worked hard and thus this last month has been the “best one of her life”  being back on track for Gold. Not many players have the strength of character to make such a comeback and few have. Ellen is a very honest person and did not therefore choose to point the finger at the coach or look for other excuses for her being dropped but accepted the criticism was justified, accepted that she was out of shape and , looking back, she admitted it was good for her to be “shaken awake” and given a wake up call. Ellen addressed the issues with her game bit by bit , combining more with other players  for example, and Caldas mentored her back to form.

Ellen, back in form, rehydrating after helping the Dutch win the final at the recent pre- Olympic test- London Cup.

Max allowed her to train with the team again after Rosario but she could feel her shortcomings more intensely because she felt they were obvious but Max was as ever supportive and gave her the confidence to stay positive, persevere and would also praise her for what she had been doing well. (We should note that he did a similar thing with Flootje Engels  when relative newcomer Joyce Sombroek was suddenly his preferred first choice keeper with the result that Floortje  was given targets she was able to meet and is therefore  included in the squad as  reserve keeper . Before the flight to London Ellen was apparently chillaxing with her friend and national team mate Naomi van As ( and roommate at the Olympic village ) and doing last minute shopping and planning something for Naomi’s 29th birthday ( Thursday 26th July) . Multi-capped  Ellen is not expecting to be overwhelmed by the enormous pressure that comes to bear on players at the world’s biggest sporting event  she just thinks of it as “delicious” and with regard to if they face  a partisan crowd, which is very likely in London,  for her that motivates her to  try even harder. Thus she is especially bullish about the prospect of facing the in form  hosts Great Britain on their home turf . The final days in the run up  to the Game will  see a couple of test games which will no doubt prove  Ellen has made the grade to returning to effective form after being shaken and not stirred by Max Caldas last year.

Olympic factoids. “Hoog” in Dutch translates as tall, high or long. The Dutch, based on world height averages are among the tallest people in the world  – Ellen is 5 foot five inches

(Source: content includes a digest from my translation from the original Dutch report from Spits/Jan Balk reported on the independent dutch hockey aficionado website

Hoofdklassehockey.nl )

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