• Anna Flanagan talks to teammate Rachel Lynch about work-life balance. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Hockeyroos defender and engaging public profile, Anna Flanagan is Zela's guest editor. She talks to teammate Rachel Lynch and reveals how much this goalkeeper-come-nurse-come-charity ambassador packs into her life.
By
Anna Flanagan

4 Jul 2016 - 10:00 AM  UPDATED 4 Jul 2016 - 10:00 AM

If you haven’t heard of this boss, listen up!

Rachel Lynch is the Australian Women’s Hockey goalkeeper, a dual Commonwealth Games gold medalist, in her 3rd Olympic preparation, and combines all of this with working as a nurse, co-owning a café, and being an ambassador for RUOK - raising over $30,000 for the charity! This girl has quite the resume.

I spoke to Rach about some of the amazing things she is doing and how she manages it all.

 

How long have you played in the Hockeyroos?

I made my debut in June 2006, so coming up to ten years in the Hockeyroos.

 

 

 

Career highlight?

Gold at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth games was pretty amazing, but our silver medal at the World Cup in 2016 was also pretty special.

We lost to Holland 2-0 in the final but it was still a proud moment for me individually and also our team. I was lucky enough to win goalkeeper of the tournament.

 

Career lowlight?

Missing the London 2012 Olympics

 

How have you balanced having a career with sport?

I am generally a very busy person and like to have lots going on in my life.

I work as a nurse once a week, I'm an ambassador for various charities and I love spending time with friends. Hockey is a full-time job but by being organised and planning ahead, I am able to fit lots into my life.

I have been working for the majority of my career and in the two years I took off work, I had my worst years from a hockey performance point of you. 

Would not having to work be better for your hockey?

I have been working for the majority of my career and in the two years I took off work, I had my worst years from a hockey performance point of you.

Mentally, I am much better when I have work-life balance in my life. I like to be able to switch off and keep perspective on things. When I just concentrate on hockey I end up thinking too much and putting too much pressure on myself. I love my job as a nurse and honestly feel it helps me play better.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do as a nurse?

I work in neuro rehabilitation so mostly stroke and multiple sclerosis patients. It's rehab so they come to us after having acute care. We assist them to learn how to walk, talk, eat, speak, all the various things they were able to do before their illness or injury.

Many patients stay with us for anywhere from 1 up to 6 months so I get to build wonderful relationships. I love providing personal care but also helping these people to have a positive experience whilst they are on our ward. I work with a fantastic team of health professionals so truly love coming to work.

 

How has nursing carried over into your sporting career?

It just keeps me grounded.

 

How is it being so far away from your family? What strategies do you have to manage?

It is certainly hard being away from friends and family. I call my mum every day, my nan and brother once a week. I chat to friends regularly too. It's easier to stay in contact with technology but I definitely miss Melbourne as it will always be my home. The girls in the team are all super supportive and I have made some life-long friends here. We all look out for each other as we know how tough it is being so far from home.

 

Why is hockey high performance unit in Perth, and will this change?

It was set up here many years ago and has never left. I hope it moves to the Gold Coast or even Melbourne before I retire.

The support for female athletes and women's sport is definitely growing which is fantastic to see.

Have you been disadvantaged for being a female sports person?

I wouldn't say disadvantaged. Yes, we have a lower profile, the media take less interest and we are paid less but there are plenty of upsides. There are many who really admire and respect females achieving big things. We are also forced to have a career outside hockey which I'm grateful for. The support for female athletes and women's sport is definitely growing which is fantastic to see.

 

What do you love about hockey and do you think it could become a mainstream sport?

It's a fast and exciting game that most people seem to enjoy. Plenty of action with goals regularly being scored and skill always on display. I hope one day we can get a regular spot on mainstream TV but I feel it's still a long way off unfortunately.

 

You also own a café, how did that come about? 

This year my brother and I have taken ownership of a café in Sydney called 'The Drop Annandale'. We both have a real keen interest in business and although he is the brains of the equation, I am always willing to invest in a good idea. He works very hard to make sure it is successful and has enjoyed the experience so far. I have another small start up business that I own and would like to venture out a bit more once my hockey career slows down.

 

You have a strong passion for giving back to the community - how did you get involved in RUOK?

As an athlete I am very privileged to have a bit of a profile that I can put to good use. I love helping various charities but RUOK is the one I am most passionate about. I started with them around 4 years ago after a friend put me in touch with them. I've worked as an ambassador ever since and have taken on many different roles in order to help spread their very important message. Next big event for RUOK is a bike ride I'm doing from Perth to Albany in October this year.

 

 

What possessed you to do the Kokoda trail, and how much money did you raise?

Kokoda was something I had always wanted to do. Ash Nelson and I decided to take it on after seeing the RUOK guys advertising their annual trip. We couldn't join them due to our Commonwealth Games commitments but set off on our own just four days after winning our Gold medal. We had not done any training at all so it was a real test of our mental strength as much as physical. No phone coverage meant we had plenty of time to talk and laugh which I loved. We ended up raising $31,000 for RUOK.


 

Hockeyroo defender, Anna Flanagan is a guest editor for a special edition of Zela articles. Anna has written, commissioned and created content for readers around her love of sport and broader interests.