We are currently seeing a ‘golden age’ for women’s sport this summer, with a huge surge of successes for women across the globe as they challenge preconceptions, push boundaries and attack taboos. This is echoed in Austria too. Austria Women’s Football have had a successful Euro 2017 campaign, finding themselves in the semi-finals after a courageous battle through the group stages. This development is definitely the case for hockey as well.
Austria are heading to Cardiff to play in the EuroHockey Championship II tournament on the 6th of August – 12th, and are feeling motivated and excited to be a part of the event. We caught up with Corinna Zerbs, one of the most experieced members of the team, who shared with us how she got involved in hockey in the first place, how the sport is developing in Austria and also the team’s expectations for the coming week.
Hey Corinna. Thank you so much for answering some questions for us. Let’s kick off with why you initially become involved with hockey.
I have a brother who is two years older than me. He started playing hockey when I was 3 and a half years old. As a younger sister I always wanted to do the same as my older brother so I also began to play hockey. When he was 18 he quit, but I continued playing.
Ah, family influence. Is there a lot of people playing hockey in Austria? Tell us a bit about hockey for you at home.
Compared to the last few years hockey in Austria has improved a lot. There are more kids playing hockey and also more pitches than a few years ago. The time I started playing there was only one artificial turf which has to be shared by 5 clubs. Now nearly every club has its own pitch.
The number of hockey players in Austria highly increased in the last ten years.
Wow! That’s great to hear there’s more hockey being played now. What do you enjoy the most about captaining the Austrian team?
There are two parts I enjoy most:
1. It’s a big honor for me to captain the team. You are the first person who steps out on the pitch and the whole team follows.
2. Due to my experience and the role as a captain I try to help younger players to improve themselves. I try to be a role model for them.
Do you have another profession as well as playing hockey internationally?
I have a Bachelor degree in Sports Science and currently doing my Master degree. I am working in Frankfurt (Germany) as an office manager for a sports club and also work as a youth trainer too.
Impressive! Who do you play club hockey for and what’s the team like?
Since the current season (01.08.2017) I play for SAFO Frankfurt. It’s a young and motivated team with a lot of talent and potential.
How have you been preparing for the EuroHockey Championsip II in Cardiff, Wales; personally and as a team?
The preparation was quite complicated, because we have a lot of young players, who already participated in the u21 tournament in Czech Republic in July. As a team we had some training weekends and test games against German club teams, Czech Republic, Croatia and Switzerland.
That’s quite a bit of playing to be fair! Do you have any fitness tips for up and coming hockey players who want to improve their game?
Fitness is an important part of hockey. For young players it is essential to do some individual work, especially stretching and stabilization exercises.
What are you most looking forward to ahead of the Euro Hockey Championship II in Cardiff?
I’m really looking forward to the crowd and spectators. The fans and the atmosphere will be motivating and it will be an outstanding tournament.
The Welsh are known to be great fans to be fair. Who do you think will be your biggest challenge?
I think Poland will be the biggest challenge, because they played World League Round 3 and they have a lot of experience and match practice. They have quite a good team and also good individual players. Wales will be hard to play too. They will be supported by the home crowd and will be fully motivated.
As you’ve mentioned, you’re playing the host nation, Wales – what are you expecting from that particular game as they will be playing at home?
As I said previously I expect a tough game against Wales. Usually Welsh players are fit and well trained. The stadium will be full and the atmosphere will be loud and very motivating. I’m really looking forward to this special game and the whole tournament itself.
That’s great to hear. Where do you find your inspiration to improve on and off the field?
That’s a tough question and hard to specialize. One inspiration is my family. They always told me that it is important to work on yourself and try to give your best. The other inspiration, especially on the field, is my team. You train together, you work together and you are responsible for your team-mates. So you as a person have to improve and try to work on yourself to get the best outcome possible.
Thank you Corinna and all the best for the EuroHockey Championship II tournament in Cardiff, Wales next week!
For more information about Austria Hockey, check out: