Jess Buchanan: Balancing Being An International Hockey Goalkeeper At The Age Of 19
3. Which club do you play for?
4. What is your favourite pizza topping?
5. Playing history:
U16-U18 age group Scotland and now U21 and Scotland senior women.
6. International honours:
International caps outdoor and indoor and U18/U21 Europeans.
7. Who are your role models?
My dad and my big sister
8. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
9. Who are your biggest sporting influences?
Jessica Ennis and Kobe Bryant.
10. What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Step out your comfort zone and face your fears. Growth takes place when you are challenged, not when you are comfortable”- Vex King
Tell us about your journey and how you have got to where you are now playing international at the age of 19.
I started hockey at school when I was 11 years old. I started as an outfield player and then shortly after playing outfield I found out I was not good at all so I was asked to try out as a goalkeeper. From trying it at first, I really enjoyed it because I was used to kicking and had pretty good hand to eye coordination from playing football and basketball so this helped.
From school level I then moved to play for the district team (west district) which consisted of Glasgow based players. I played U14 level to U18 level. During this period I was involved in U16 Scotland at the age of 14 and then put into the U18 Scotland squad in my last year of U16s.
In the last year of U16s I was invited to the U18s Scotland team where I played in the 2018 Europeans where we won gold and gained promotion to the A division.
After that summer I then started to work with ONE Hockey's Simon Lee who is my GK coach and has been now for 3 years and he has helped me a lot with my development. In the last year Simon also introduced me to Graeme Foreman who has helped me a lot with the mental side of sport and I have seen a difference in myself mentally which I have implemented into my game. I am very thankful for their continuous support.
In the January of 2019 I was then selected to be part of the senior women’s squad when I was 16. From there I got my first senior caps against Canada when I was 17 and also in that summer, I played in the U21s Europeans where we won gold and gained promotion to A division.
How do you balance everything with the commitment of playing at international level at your age?
During my time in high school, particularly my last year of school where I was part of the senior programme, it consisted of early mornings before school for trainings and also trainings after school. I was also training with my club, but all of this was exciting to me!
I love playing hockey and playing as much as possible but when it’s a lot to balance I have or organise myself very well.
Now I play abroad in Barcelona, Spain where I have huge support from my club where they help me balance being there in Spain with the club which is important and also supporting my international career in Scotland. So, my club are supportive with allowing me to be available for particular Scotland trainings and any upcoming tournaments or games.
During my career so far, I suppose sometimes I had to remember my age when I first came into the squad that maybe I wouldn’t be selected for some tournaments or games as I was still young and learning, as I am still learning now and will keep learning to improve myself as an individual and a goalkeeper.
What are your aspirations?
Some of my aspirations for the future would firstly to be the best goalkeeper I can be and keep experiencing different styles of hockey and different styles of coaching. Also, to be selected for the Scotland women’s team for major tournaments for example the commonwealth games. Also, to potentially be involved in the GB senior program in the future.
Enjoy this blog? Read more about international goalkeeping from Simon Mason here.