FOR the Lowe siblings, Courtney and Nicole, who made the national squads for next year’s major events, hockey runs in the family.
The two sisters recently made the national senior women and Under-21 squads to prepare for next year’s Central-South Africa tournament and Junior World Cup qualifiers.
With their mother, Jooks, into hockey, they grew up around the hockey pitch and fell in love with the sport.
“Hockey has always been a major part of our lives since we were small girls. I think, when we first started playing hockey, we were about five.
“On a Sunday afternoon, my mom used to get us in the garden teaching us to hold a hockey stick properly, how to dribble, how to bounce the ball on a stick because my mom always believed that, in order to improve, your basics had to be good.
“Because my mom was a hockey coach, we have always been on the side of a hockey pitch, always had a stick and a ball in our hands, running around, hitting each other.
“From, I think, when we were about nine we joined into my mom’s training sessions whenever she was taking training and it was just to help us improve our basic stick skills.
‘‘Not only did I, and Nicole play in the same club team when she was 13, but we played in the same team as my mom for about four years and Nicole still continues to play with my mom in the same club team,” said Courtney.
Courtney is based in England, where she is studying Primary Education at Anglia Ruskin University.
And, at the same time, she continues playing, under the Cambridge City Hockey Club.
They may be thousands of miles apart with Nicole, a Chisipite Senior School pupil, but they share a special connection.
“Our biggest dream is to stand wearing national colours representing our country side by side.
‘‘We push each other, day in and day out, no matter what’s going on or, even the thousands of miles apart from each other, we will continue to do this until we make the final teams together.
“Playing alongside my sister is my biggest dream and it’s my sister’s big dream as well to play with me.
‘‘We are able to understand each other without even having to say a word. We just look at each other and know what needs to be done,” said Courtney.
Nicole says their mother has been their biggest influencer and their bother Bryn, an FIH umpire, has also had a hand in their continuous development.
“Over the years we have developed a great understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses on the hockey field.
“She (their mother looks) has played a huge part of all of our achievements.
‘‘ a mother, she is our biggest source of encouragement, but as a coach, she becomes our biggest critic when we are not performing to our potential.
“This has given us a balance in our hockey.
“Having a brother, who is an FIH umpire and a mother as a coach, we constantly receive feedback from multiple perspectives, which has been greatly beneficial in the development of our hockey,” Nicole said. They are both utility players but have different preferences with Courtney preferring playing in the backline while Nicole in the midfield.
Their mother, Jooks is a former Zimbabwe player and last played for Zimbabwe at the All-Africa Games staged in Nigeria, in 2003.
She holds an International Hockey Federation Level Two coaching, FIH Educators Level One as well as FIH technical Level One. She has coached national teams at every level and says she is always frank with her children.
She is a proud mom, with all her children making the national teams at a young age including the youngest, Danielle.
“I must admit I am always very direct with them. I am their critic, I tell them where they need to work and focus and also give them feedback on their positives.’’