#BehindEveryGreatPlayer resonates with Defroand's own journey in hockey
PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:22 11 June 2018
Great Britain and England player Emily Defroand says her own hockey journey made her keen to get involved in the Behind Every Great Player launch.
England Hockey launched the campaign to coincide with the 50-day countdown until the start of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, which starts on July 21 and runs through to August 5.
Using powerful video content of England players and relatives, #BehindEveryGreatPlayer has been created to maximise visibility and enhance perceptions of hockey, especially amongst parents of children that play, as well as the wider public.
A series of images captured the relationships between England players and their relatives and explored the ways in which families play a pivotal role in supporting and nurturing children to unlock their potential.
“I think the campaign and everything that it stands for, I could just really resonate with it,” said Defroand.
“I remember the influence my mum has had throughout my journey in hockey and this campaign really does celebrate the influences people have on an athlete, whether it’s a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, a coach or a volunteer.
“There is always going to be that unsung hero or person behind a sporting success or a successful exam and actually I really wanted to get involved purely because I’ve been there. My mum’s influence from the age of six when I started playing hockey up until now has been a huge factor in why I’ve been able to get to the level of hockey I am. It’s a no-brainer to be involved.”
The former Coopers Coborn pupil praised mum Gill and the rest of her family for the support they have given her throughout her career so far.
“It is that celebration that my mum has been involved in the sport and in my journey,” added Defroand.
“She has been my coach, my manager, my team-mate and now my biggest fan and having her involvement in the sport has made it easier for me as she understands the highs and the lows.
“Having that constant support network that I can rely on, not just from my mum, from my dad and my family, has really made my journey in hockey such a fond and memorable one.”
The Surbiton player says a highlight of her career will always be playing alongside her family for local team Havering as it started her journey and meant her mum could join her on it.
“I always say that some of my fondest memories of playing hockey are when I started playing at Havering Hockey Club and playing alongside my mum and my auntie, my brother in the mixed team as hockey is a real family sport,” she said.
“Being able to have mum alongside me from the start has just made everything just more enjoyable and mum now being able to follow me all over the world is just unbelievable and I never have the opportunity to thank her and I don’t think I can repay her for all the support and sacrifices she’s made for me.
“I don’t think there will ever be the right words to show how much she’s done for me and how much I appreciate it, but I think this campaign is the perfect way to highlight parents getting involved in their children’s sporting journeys.”
Gill Defroand also highlighted the importance of being there for your children on their sporting adventures, adding: “It’s fantastic – we were saying the fact that when players start they need someone to take them round in the car, someone to wash their kit, and the network of support from parents is always there, but I don’t think it’s hightlighted enough.”
Defroand also spoke at the launch event in London about how as a family they have to be there to support Emily ahead of and after squad selections.
“They go into this process of being an international athlete, they know it’s not always going to be a high and injury can force you to miss important matches or tournaments or de-selection can be a factor as well,” she added.
“You can’t expect everything is going to be a bed of roses and as a family you’ve got to have that support network there to be able to help players during their lows.
“It’s nerve wracking for the whole squad and as much as when Emily wasn’t selected for the Commonwealth Games she was bitterly disappointed, we were extremely pleased for some of the other girls who weren’t expecting selection.”
For more information, where to buy tickets and how to follow the World Cup action, please visit: www.worldcup2018.hockey/women.