Ellen Hoog, one of the biggest stars in women’s hockey, has been called the 'player of the year' by FIH. Off the field, she has grown to be a social celebrity!
Ellen Hoog: facts and figures
European Champion twice
World Champion twice 2006, 2014
Olympic Champion twice 2008, 2012
Hockey Club Amsterdam, AH, BC
The international hockey corporation FIH called you the best player of the past year. What do you think of this?
I consider it a great honour, a beautiful reward for me individually but it comes all down to team play.
When and where did you start your career in hockey?
I started playing at the age of seven, at SCHC in Bilthoven (NL).
Are there other players in your family?
You could surely say so! Both my parents played at Bloemendaal and my two older brothers like to set foot on the pitch as well. As from the age of seven, I held a hockey stick in my hands and today I still do.
What does success mean to you?
The team process, the goals you set and the roads towards victory - which often is as beautiful as it is tough.
Which of your characteristics contribute to the game?
My persistence, discipline, energy, positivity and my optimism. Not to forget the pleasure, because I love the fact that hockey plays such a big part in my life.
Were you able to combine your education with playing hockey on such a high level?
I didn’t finish my studies, going to uni and playing hockey at the same time was just too much. After all the training and the physiotherapy I had nearly no time left to study.
Are you feeling confident about yourself, about the game?
Lately, this feeling of confidence has been growing — it’s something you can’t go without when you’re a professional sports player! The mental aspect is very important, because when you’d be insecure, it’d be noticed on the field.
Tell me something about one of your best moments when you were a younger hockey player.
The first match I played as member of the B1-team at SCHC, we turned out to be national champions. There was no pressure, only fun!
What kind of goals do you set for yourself?
I find it very important to perform well each game, and I try to play better every time. I set my standards at a very high level.
Have you ever played a different position in the field?
Yes, I’ve been in the goal for one time, but I let five balls slip through. Not such a great success, so we could say. In the second half of the game I got back on the field, after which I immediately scored five times to even it up.
What’s your ultimate goal?
At the moment I’d say Rio, we’re going after gold for the third time.
If you could give some kind of advice on top-hockey to younger players, what would it be?
First of all, it has to be ‚you’ wanting to play yourself — you shouldn’t feel obliged by your parents. Make sure you’re always training towards a higher level of competition. Practice on your backhand and your strength. But most of all, you need to enjoy the game and have lots of fun with your team.
What are your ‚bonus points’ on the field, and how do you train for this?
Backhand shots, eye on the goal. I practice a lot on my backhand and I often play some strokes. From time to time I watch some videos.
How fast can you make your decision in the field?
I can decide so fast, it actually goes unnoticed. If something isn’t going well, I take side and sit on the bench for a couple of minutes. Then we tackle the problem with the team and see what we can do about it.
Are you in charge of the tactics?
In our team, Maartje Paumen and Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel take care of the tactics. They talk about the possibilities of the game with our coach and make sure there’s enough energy in the team.
How do you analyse your competitors?
By watching videos.
How do you feel about the new rules, with quarters instead of halves?
I don’t like it at all, I’d rather see it turned back. It’s a big disadvantage, for your rythm disappears completely and you lose your concentration. On top of that, our team doesn’t need the extra resting time, we’re all fit enough.
How do you look back at the world championship in The Hague?
It was great! There were about 15 000 fans who all yelled, sang, screamed and chanted us towards victory.
Do you miss your old coach, Max Caldas?
Absolutely. But of course we’re very happy to have Sjoerd. It a different process as well as a different kind of coaching. Some change from time to time helps to keep you focused.
How are you preparing for the World League and the Olympics?
I just flew back from Valencia, where we did a clinic with the whole team. We made an analysis of the Champions Trophy and we’re quite satisfied with it. From the start of the summer season on, we’ll be unstoppable!
What’s your favourite way to relax?
Going out for lunch with my girlfriends, going shopping, that kind of stuff. No hockey! But I surely don’t lead a wild life, I prefer to tuck in early.
What’s the best place on earth according to you?
I love Amsterdam, my hometown. California comes second. One summer, I went there for a month to travel around the state in a camper, together with my boyfriend. It was great. But I wouldn’t say no to the Seychelles either!
Over 170 000 likes on Facebook, that’s kind of special isn’t it?
A lot of people like my feed, that’s true. I post everything that interests me, a variation of pictures and information. That way people can follow me behind the screens.
Who do you consider your great example?
I don’t really have an idol, but I do have a lot of admiration for everyone who steps back onto the field after having had injuries or diseases.
What do you do next to hockey?
A little bit of everything. I write a blog about healthy food, I give professional presentations, I take care of sponsors and I organise clinics.
Superfoods and Ellen, what can you tell us about this?
I’m a big fan of superfoods. I think it’s very important to eat in a healthy way, for it provides more energy and makes you feel much better. Eating healthily is necessary as well when you’re revalidating from injuries.
Since when do you work with an agency that takes care of sponsoring and communication?
I started it a few years ago, because I was getting to busy to keep doing it myself. It’s much better now they take care of my contacts and contracts alike.