The Queen’s School Sport and Fitness Department is committed to increasing participation and developing elite success for talented sportswomen through the Fitness For All strategy.
We have seen an increase in how many girls take part in sport, how much they enjoy and value it and how many compete for the school as a result.
We are now lucky enough to have on our staff two England sportswomen. Mrs Green, who has played hockey for the England Masters in the World Cup and Miss Lytollis, who has represented England in two Australian and USA lacrosse tours this year.
Having role models to inspire and lead the way is hugely important for our pupils.
We interviewed Miss Lytollis about her route to international sport, her experiences and her tips for elite success.
Q So how did you get so good?!
“Throughout Junior school I loved getting involved with any sport that was available. My PE teacher at the time told me to give Lacrosse a go and join a club called Wirral Lacrosse club, now known as Oxton Lacrosse Club. At the age of 8, I went down for my first session at Oxton, fell in love with the game and have represented the club for the last 13 years. I went on to play not only for my club but also Cheshire and North of England before being selected at age 15 to trial for the 2011 U19 World Cup for England. Unfortunately, being so young, I was only named as a non-travelling reserve. This knock back was a major drive for me in my lacrosse, as I never wanted to face this disappointment again.”
“After moving up to the Senior England training squad, I went to the trials and was selected to represent England in the 2012 European Championships. Since then I have been selected for another European Championship and two tours.
Q What is the training like?
“The training is tough. Nearly every day and twice monthly sessions with other England athletes. In general I train 5 -6 days a week and sometimes that will involve two sessions a day. We have a great strength and conditioning programme with England, meaning training is catered to each athlete to help work on strengths and weaknesses. This will involve conditioning sessions, speed and agility, strength sessions, mobility and skills. Queen’s provides the perfect environment for me to train with the great facilities and access to all the equipment when I need it.”
Q And the training has clearly paid off. All that hard work from you and your teammates saw you beat the Aussies on the last tour. What was it like?
“Tour was an amazing experience. It gave us the chance to play the top teams in the world, gave us a benchmark of where we are against opposition teams and what we need to work on over the upcoming months to achieve England’s ‘goingforgold’ mentality.
Q So what are your tips for success for all our budding international sportswomen and athletes?
“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m saying it’s going to be worth it. This is a phrase that has stuck with me for many years. Like with any sport the training you put in is not meant to be easy, it’s going to be hard. But when I think of the atmosphere when England won the Test series in Australia or played out of their skins against the USA, it overrides any gruelling conditioning sessions I have done. Pushing yourself out your comfort zone, whether that be in training or just generally, is something that can massively influence your success.
Q So how do those highs compare with working at Queen’s?
“I’m absolutely loving my job here at Queen’s. It’s great to work with the girls week in week out and see the progress they have made, particularly Year 7 who have never picked up a stick before! I’m also being given the opportunity to get involved helping with other sports such as hockey and swimming which I enjoy, as it add a bit of variety.
“I think my love of the game helps me here at Queen’s. It drives me to get as many girls involved with the sport not only in school but encouraging them to join clubs and attend coaching camps. My success in lacrosse has provided me the opportunity to travel and make friends who I have now being playing alongside for 10+ years. You gain so much out of not only lacrosse but sport in general so who wouldn’t want to encourage the girls to get involved!”