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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 25 October 2020
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How are Ireland preparing for the Olympics? A day in the life of hockey captain David Harte

An insight into the training routine of the world’s best goalkeeper.

Harte in action against England.
Harte in action against England.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

WORLD CLASS IRISH sportspeople are few and far between but Corkman David Harte is in that elite bracket.

The 28-year-old hockey star was last year named World Goalkeeper of the Year for his performances throughout the season for Ireland.

Playing for the Green Machine in the European Championships, where Ireland claimed a shock bronze medal by beating England, Harte was simply awesome and garnered plaudits from around the globe for his displays between the posts.

It’s a big year again for the 6ft 5inch giant as Ireland prepare for their first ever appearance at the Olympic Games.

Harte is currently based in the Netherlands where he plays for one of the league’s top sides, Kampong, but he’s back on home soil every Sunday night for three days of training with his country.

Having qualified for Rio, the Irish players who are based abroad return home on a Sunday to train with the squad Monday, Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday, depending on the week.

And when he wakes up on Monday morning, here is the schedule Harte follows:

7am: Wake-up

The first thing I do is get some food in and this consists of porridge, scrambled eggs and beans, cereal, fruit and juice. I leave for training at 8.15am.

[image alt="David Harte" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/04/david-harte-2-630x432.jpg" width="630" height="432" title="" class="aligncenter" /end]

9.30am: Training

On a Monday, the first thing to do is get any injuries assessed and we have a physio available here if needed.

12pm: Cool down

This might not sound like much but it is an essential part of training. Here, we take our protein shakes on board and have ice baths to help with recovery if we need.

12.30pm: Lunch

We’ll make our way to the Irish Institute of Sport for lunch, which would usually be something simple like chicken salad and some couscous-based dishes.

2pm: Strength and conditioning session

This session is done in the gym at the Irish Institute of Sport – a facility we are blessed to have access to. Normally lasts about 90 minutes.

4pm: Individual training/video analysis

Usually eat a cereal bar and get a protein shake on board before this pitch-based session. Afterwards, I’ll do goalkeeper training until 7pm.

7pm: Cool down

Return to Irish Institute of Sport after cool down for dinner with the team. Again, it is a simple dish like lasagne or a cottage pie.

8pm: Team meeting

This will involve a sports psychology chat or a nutritional talk. We then go back to the hotel around 9pm.

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10.30pm: Bed time

Get some much-needed sleep to repeat the same process the next day.

[image alt="David Harte" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/04/david-harte-630x407.jpg" width="630" height="407" title="" class="aligncenter" /end]

Harte started playing hockey when he was in first year in secondary school at Bandon Grammar School, Cork.

He’s in the game some 16 years now and made his debut exactly 10 years ago this August alongside his brother Conor against France.

Outside of hockey, Harte looks up to his dad a lot while Roger Federer is the sportsman he most admires.

“My dad has had a big influence on me and he has been central to my career, along with all my family in supporting me along the way, of course.

“As a youngster I was exposed to numerous different sports and nothing was ever a problem for my dad and the way he thinks. I think my twin brother Conor would also agree with me on that one.

As well as my dad I’d look up to the likes of Roger Federer as a sporting great. He consistently shows a world class level of performance while remaining humble and unassuming despite his fame and success.”

For the year ahead, Harte has set some ambitious goals – including some big performances at the Olympics.

“We want to set our goals high. In 2015 in the European Championships in London we got to the semi-final and that was history in itself but to beat England to take bronze was history,” he said.

“Getting to Rio was the goal and now that there are two pools of six, we can get a top four in the pool and get to a quarter-final.

“Who knows what might happen.”

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