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Hockey star uses EIT’s facilities to prepare for Olympics

June 29, 2021

Hockey star, Shea McAleese, uses EIT’s facilities to prepare for Olympics

Black Sticks Hockey star Shea McAleese is preparing for the expected heat of the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games by training in a Heat Training Facility at the EIT Institute of Sport and Health (EIT ISH).

While most of the Black Sticks Men’s squad is based in Auckland and train together, Shea has stayed in Hawke’s Bay where he works. Wanting to be acclimatised when he arrives in Tokyo, Shea began using the EIT’s Heat Training Facility at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park two months ago, having already been training in the gym there for two years.

“We went to Tokyo in 2019 for a tournament and the average temperature was 40 degrees plus 80 per cent humidity, so obviously we need to do some heat stimulus training. All the guys up in Auckland are doing heat chamber testing and training, so it has been a bit of a game-changer for me, to be honest.”

He says being able to do weekly heat stimulus training has paid dividends because when he went up to Auckland to undergo fitness tests, he passed with flying colours.

“I’ve probably done about six or seven sessions in the Heat Training Facility. There is a cycling station in there and I really try to make it quite hard by wearing a thermal, hoodie, beanie and a jacket so that I can really open up my body with heat.”

“It’s definitely hard but sometimes you need to put yourself in a bit of a deep, dark hole. When you are flying over to Japan, it will become really hot, and you still have to think clearly in those environments.”

Shea says normally the team would have spent some of the build-up in Malaysia acclimatising to the heat they will experience in Tokyo, but COVID-19 had put paid to that.

He is now able to use the EIT Heat Training Facility to aid him in his preparations.

“I want to say a really big thanks to EIT for allowing me to use the facilities. I’d probably be at a loss without it and I’m trying to figure out ways to train as best as I can.”

The Black Sticks recently suffered a 4-0 series loss to Australia, a series that Shea says was pretty difficult, especially having not played a test for about 18 months before that.

The Olympic squad, of which Shea is expected to be a part, will be named on 10 June, and travel to Perth on 21 June, before flying out to Japan on 18 July in time for the Olympics, which is set to begin on 24 July.

Kirsten Westwood, Assistant Head of School, School of Health & Sport Science, says the services they offer at the Lab ”will surprise you”.

“The facility that we offer in Hawke’s Bay is state-of-the-art and to attract someone of Shea’s calibre shows us that we can support people who really need to improve their performance.”

For more details on the services available at the EIT Institute of Sport and Health, please go to our website.