Nick Catlin - Olympic rings

Q & A with Nick Catlin, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian, Commonwealth Games and European Championships bronze medallist.

Q & A with Nick Catlin, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian, Commonwealth Games and European Championships bronze medallist. 1024 767 Henman Communications

We are delighted to welcome Nick Catlin, former professional field hockey player, double Olympian and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist to the Henman Communications team!

Nick will be interning with us over the next few months, so we thought we would start by asking him to give us some insight into his upbringing, passion for hockey, highlights of his remarkable hockey career achieving 185 England and Great Britain appearances and his memories of competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and a second Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

1. Tell us a little about your background, upbringing and education.

I grew up in Marlow, Buckinghamshire with two older brothers. Sport played a huge role in our development as kids whether that was in the garden at home or on the sports field at school and at local clubs. Football dominated proceedings, as it does for so many kids growing up in the UK, but we tended to get involved in pretty much anything we could, including: cricket, athletics, golf, tennis and of course hockey. All three of us attended a state school in High Wycombe called John Hampden Grammar school, which played a massive role in shaping us young men. As a well-renowned football school within the local area, I actually ended up playing a lot more school football than school hockey between the ages of 11-18.

2. What age did you start playing hockey and what do love most about the game?

I first got hold of a hockey stick probably when I was 3 or 4. We were living out in Caracas, Venezuela at the time because of my dad’s work and for some reason hockey was the sport of choice at the international school we attended. Watching my two brothers play school and club fixtures inevitably meant running up and down the side-line with my own stick and ball practising my skills. When we returned to the UK I joined the local hockey club at Marlow and never really looked back. I think I fell in love with the speed and skill of the game initially and the fact you could play with your mates. As I got a little older, none of that changed, but I also found that I thrived on the competition.

3. You have amassed 185 international hockey appearances for England and Great Britain! (Amazing achievement!) Tell us about the highlights and low points of your professional hockey career.

Being selected for and competing at a home Olympic Games is definitely up there in terms of career highlights. Playing in India was always good fun too because it normally meant playing in front of big crowds, which we didn’t really experience anywhere else in the world. I’ve also been fortunate enough to play club hockey in both Holland and Belgium, which has been incredibly enjoyable. Low points include losing on penalties in the 2010 Commonwealth Games semi-final and bronze medal match and again in the semi-final of the European Championships in 2015.

Nick Catlin - Beerschot

4. When you were a professional hockey player did you have superstitions before, during or after matches?

I didn’t really have too many superstitions, to be honest. I have, however, played with the same pair of shin pads since I was 11 years old, which probably has some kind of superstitious element to it, given that they are way too small and don’t offer a great deal of protection anymore.

5. Give us some insight into your memories of competing in the Olympic Games in London 2012, Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 and a second Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

Being selected for and competing at the London 2012 Olympics was one of the best times of my life. I’ll never forget walking the 800 metres or so from the Athletes Village to the Olympic Stadium on the night of the opening ceremony with the walkway lined with thousands of people, or stepping out for our first game of the tournament vs Argentina in front of a bumper 15,000 crowd.

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was all about winning a medal for me. The team I had been a part of in 2010 in Delhi had narrowly missed out and it was heart-breaking. Winning the bronze medal playoff on a penalty shootout and being directly involved was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my international career and one I will never forget.

To be honest, I don’t have particularly fond memories of Rio 2016. We failed to qualify from our group and were dumped out of the tournament much earlier than expected. It was certainly the most disappointing period in my international hockey career, but also an experience which I believe has helped strengthen my character since.

6. How are dealing with the current Coronavirus lockdown?

I haven’t actually found lockdown too challenging just yet. The good weather has certainly helped and having a garden is a real bonus. I’ve spent most of my time coming up with different ways to keep fit, baking (way more than usual) and talking to friends and family via the various different online platforms that seem to have become mainstream since lockdown began.

7. Give us 5 top tips to help us stay fit and healthy, both mentally and physically in the lockdown:

Try to keep as normal a routine as possible. That means waking up and going to bed at a normal time for you, getting dressed in the morning and eating proper meals at proper times of the day.

If you can do so safely and whilst maintaining social distancing, get outside for your allotted time each day and do some kind of exercise even if it’s just a walk.

Plan your main meals for the week and write your food shopping list based on what you need for these meals. Include a few dinners where it’s easy to make extra for lunch the next day. This will not only save you money but also stop you from picking up random things from the shelves that you don’t really need. STICK TO THE LIST.

If there are restaurants in your local area still offering takeaway options then treat yourself once in a while. My wife and I realised a couple of weeks ago that our favourite pizza place had started delivering takeaway during lockdown so we jumped at the chance for a morale-boosting feed.

There are all sorts of workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home, which require zero equipment. Get online and have a look to find something that interests you!

Nick Catlin - Rotterdam

8. Do you take any health or fitness supplements? If so what are they and how do they help you?

The only supplement that I use with any regularity is protein. When I’m on the move or a little short on time, or just want a bit of a top-up during the day then a protein shake is a really quick and easy option. I’ve probably used it more in the last year or so since I’ve started trying to eat less meat, which makes lean sources of protein a little harder to come by. Adequate protein intake is hugely important for a number of areas of physical performance including recovery and muscle growth.

9. Who was your sporting icon growing up and why? Do you have any favourite athletes now?

I didn’t really have a sporting idol growing up. I think it was because I enjoyed so many different sports that it was difficult to focus on one individual. I looked up to both of my brothers a lot though and I’m convinced that trying to copy them and be better than them from such a young age contributed hugely to my sporting development.

I have a few favourite athletes at the moment from a variety of different sports, including Andy Murray and Rory McIlroy. I love Murray’s competitiveness and desire. The way he has been able to win the biggest tournaments in the game despite huge levels of external pressure and whilst playing in probably the greatest era in men’s tennis history is incredible. McIlroy is just unbelievably talented and great to watch. I just hope he wins the Masters sometime soon!

10. What can top business executives, CEO’s and MD’s learn from top elite international sportsmen and women?

I think the single biggest thing people at all levels of business can learn from elite sportsmen and women comes from a team environment. Putting the interests of the team above your own whilst also trying to extract every last ounce of performance from yourself individually is quite a unique skill, and one which I believe translates incredibly well into the world of business.