Elite Athlete Interview: Patch Christie, Scottish Hockey

"I came for recovery and flexibility, ended up staying for the yoga."
1. Tell us about yourself. Where are you from/ where did you grow up? What attracted you to hockey?

I’m from Edinburgh and am currently a student in Durham. I first saw hockey on TV during the 2004 Athens Olympics and thought it looked great, so I joined an after-school club and it really went from there.

2. Yoga. Useful for you professionally/ personally? How has it made an impact on you?

Very useful! I am much more resistant to injury and it has helped make me stronger and maintain better balance in awkward positions on the pitch. Outside of sport, it has helped me relax more, especially through the breathing techniques.

3. People don’t always see yoga and hockey as being closely connected. How did you first find yoga? Do you see  it advancing in your particular field?

I first found yoga when a friend asked me to come along to a yoga session  a couple  of years back. Over the past few years, I’ve seen far more yoga poses being incorporated into warm-ups and as separate sessions on longer away trips.

Patch playing for Scotland against Switzerland in hockey’s World League round one in Glasgow, September 2016.

4. How about Tribe? Let us know about your experiences at Tribe; what drew you to it and what kept you coming back?

LOVE Tribe. I kept coming because of how much I enjoyed the classes and how awesome everyone there is. I came for recovery and flexibility, ended up staying for the yoga.

5. At what point in starting with Tribe did you first notice it was beginning  to help physically? What did you feel?

It was probably after a month or so of doing  a consistent few sessions a week that I noticed I was feeling more flexible and slightly more powerful  in certain awkward positions. 

6. It is widely known that professional athletes are often under a huge amount of pressure. Do you think, beyond the physical benefits of yoga, there are mental benefits too?

100% yes. I think anyone who goes to one Yin class will agree with me I reckon!

7. Are you seeing yoga becoming more included in sports? Is it something  we should be looking at developing amongst younger athletes?

I hear more and more athletes talking about doing yoga alongside their sport training, so yes I think it is. I definitely think it should be used for younger athletes. I went through several small injuries when I was about 13-14 and training ramped up. Had I been doing yoga at the time, I don’t think I would have suffered from those injuries as much.

8. What are your favourite classes at Tribe? Did you take a variety of different ones or just stay with a few?

I honestly love all of the classes I’ve tried! My first few classes were beginners’ ones, but after a few of those I switched to Flow Yoga and Power Yoga classes. Now I do a fairly even mix of Flow, Power, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and I enjoy Tribe Cycle as well!

9. When you’re  not playing hockey or doing yoga, what might you be doing?

To be honest, apart from studying its mainly Netflix!

Patch at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow, 2017.

10. Has yoga taught you anything else in particular about yourself?

I think yoga has taught me to be open to new things.

11. Any particular role models? Why him/ her/ them?

I have a few, but at the moment my main role model is someone from outside my sport, Brent Fikowski. He’s a CrossFit athlete. He’s a role model to me because of the level of commitment he gives to his sport and his level of thinking when he approaches competition, which is something I do my best to emulate.

12. Where was the last place you travelled?

Last place  I travelled was Poland. I was there on a hockey trip.

13. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?

Purple. I feel like purple crayons are the happiest so that’s definitely what I would want to be.

Patch playing for Scotland U21’s against Ireland’s U21’s in Belfast, 2016.

14. If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“Eyes Shut” by Years & Years. Just love it!

15. What would we find in your refrigerator?

Loads of fruit and vegetables, and a lot of chicken!

16. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Smoked salmon and avocado on toast.

17. When was your last class? Will we see you again soon?

Last class was the day before came back to Durham for uni. My next class will be whenever I am back home in Edinburgh.

18. What’s next for you?!

I’m starting a new job next September, so everything is pretty dependent on that. I’m looking forward to training for European Championships in the summer and hopefully will be able to make the squad.

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