Mum’s the Word – Rachel Palmer

"I thought all the women who joined would be a size 10, be amazing players, be close friends, and be able to run circles round me. I soon realised, though, that we were all in the same boat."

It may not be the most obvious reason for embarking on a healthier, more active lifestyle, but sport could be the perfect opportunity for strengthening our mother and daughter relationships….

Rachel Palmer is a full-time office manager and lives in Carmarthen. In April 2012 she started playing hockey and now it's one of the most precious times of her week.

"When I get into the car to go to hockey training on a Thursday night I realise I had no idea how good this would feel, or the benefits it would bring. My 12 year old daughter Maya's with me. This is our night, every week. This is our thing we do together.

"I hadn't picked up a hockey stick since I'd been at school but last April (2012) a friend asked me if I fancied going along to this new club called Back2Hockey that was starting in St Clears. I am not a massively confident person and thought all the women who joined would be a size 10, be amazing players, be close friends, and be able to run circles round me. I was just a bit apprehensive.

"At the first meeting, though, I realised we were all in the same boat. New to the game, or returning after years away, a bit nervous and wondering if we'd last the hour. But it was so much fun. When I got on the pitch it all came flooding back, and those of us who'd played before could explain the basic rules to those who hadn't. Now when new people come along - two friends in their 50s joined a few weeks ago - they remind us how nervous we were at the beginning. They soon relax though. There are coaches who teach you as you play.  This is about having fun and getting fit and learning something new. Next week we're all going out bowling together. About 20 women and girls, aged from early teens to early 60s.

"The biggest shock when I started was how unfit I was. I'm not the smallest of people - a size 16/18 - but I'm quite active and thought I was pretty healthy. Yet after ten minutes at that first session I was struggling. I wasn't the only one, and I didn't want to drop out so I started swimming again and I've joined a running club too. I've lost a bit of weight and am much fitter now.

"My daughter started coming along when she started high school and she's on the new development team we've formed. I was so pleased. I wasn't that active as a teen. But there are more than physical benefits. Maya's time is spent between me and her dad, and a lot of her spare time is for friends, so I love it that we have this special thing we can share. This regular block of time we know is ours. We tend to talk hockey all the way to training and all the way back, but it has brought us closer in lots of ways. I think a lot of men enjoy football with their sons for the same reason. You're friends when you're sharing something like this.  Team mates when you're on the pitch. I love it when I tell her I'm going on a run round the block and she stops watching TV and asks if she can come with me. She's not a bit embarrassed to be out exercising with her mum. That makes me proud - of me and her."

Find out what sports and leisure activities are available in your area with our interactive area map.

Latest News

  • 13 May 2014

    Rugby beauties breathing fire after first season

    After just one season of training and playing together, the newly formed Nelson Belles Girls Rugby Team has seven representatives playing for the Newport Gwent Dragons Girls U18s Team.

  • 05 Mar 2014

    Girls' network makes fitness more accessible

    A group of girls from Maesteg Comprehensive School are helping to make trips to the local leisure centre less daunting for their fellow females.

  • 26 Feb 2014

    WRU Womens and Girls Join the Beat - Bridgend

    As part of a brand new initiative to support the development of Womens physical activity the WRU are joining forces with the Sport Wales, Streetgames ‘Us Girls’ Campaign, Bridgend Council, Rugby Clubs, Schools and Colleges in the Bridgend area to trial a coaching course for Women only.