GB men's hockey coach Jason Lee positive about progress
17 July 2012
Great Britain men’s hockey coach Jason Lee says his players are ahead of where he expected them to be at this stage before the London 2012 Olympics Games.
Jason, a Loughborough graduate and former Loughborough hockey player and coach, says he is encouraged by his team’s preparation for an assault on the gold medal.
The 42-year-old was speaking after the kitting-out day for the 16-strong squad, which includes seven players with Loughborough links, at the Team GB Loughborough Preparation Camp.
Jason has been coach for nine years, a record in world hockey, and will be appearing in his fifth Olympics, his third as coach.
He said: “We are slightly better than I thought we would be at the moment, which is encouraging.
“We are not a lot better. We have got some things I would like to be better, we have got some things that are much better than I would have hoped for.
“I have been to this point so many times, this is my 30th major tournament, and the same sort of things are happening.
“We have got a few injury concerns and I am sure we will have another one before the start of the tournament.
“Some of the players are struggling for form a bit, some are in great form. A few have stepped up to a higher standard than I thought they would.”
Great Britain, ranked fourth in the world, are in the same pool as favourites Australia, Spain, Argentina, Pakistan and South Africa, and their first game is against Argentina on July 30.
Great Britain will go into the Olympics in fine fettle having beaten India 3-1 and Spain, ranked fifth in the world, 2-1 in warm up games in the last week.
Jason, who led Great Britain to fifth place in Beijing, thinks the biggest pressure will come in that opening game.
He said: “I think it will be first game nerves. In my experience the home nation often struggles in the first game just because it’s so different for them.
“The Dutch don’t because they are used to hosting most tournaments.
“But for most of the other countries it’s quite unusual to have a big crowd supporting them in a major tournament and they tend to be a bit slow to start.
“I am hoping we have done enough in our preparation that that won’t be too much of a problem for us.”
Jason says that while he has been nervous about the Olympics ever since London were awarded them he is coping.
He said: “I am a fairly resilient person, which is why I have been able to do this job for nine years, longer than anyone else. There is no-one in world hockey who has done a stint like that.
“But I have been nervous about this since the moment we got awarded the Games seven years ago.
“I remember watching the announcement and I reacted in a way that I knew there was going to be a lot of work and pressures along the way.
“And it has turned out the way I predicted. I have been trying to get my mind around it for seven years as well, so I don’t feel too bad at the moment.”