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Former GB hockey player shares insides on team behaviors and mental health

Helen Richardson-Walsh

travels from UK

Team Behavior and Value Expert uses her sports experience to explain her thoughts on team psychology and behaviors

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About Helen

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Helen started her international career in 1999 at the age of 17 and became the youngest ever woman to represent GB hockey at an Olympics in Sydney the following year. She went on to compete at four Olympic Games and as part of the senior leadership group played a central role in propelling the women’s game to victory on the world stage at Rio 2016. As she stepped on to the podium alongside her team mate and wife, GB captain Kate Richardson-Walsh, they also entered Olympic history as the first same sex married couple to win an Olympic medal playing for the same team.

Reasons to book Helen Richardson-Walsh

  • She has helped the women’s hockey team to an historic first Olympic gold medal.
  • Helen delievers a unique personal insight into team behavior, mental health and overcoming career-threatening injuries by gaining psychological and physical strength.
  • She reflects on how she coped with mental health struggles where she provides her advice, how she sought help and why she wishes she had done it earlier.

Over the course of her 17-year career Helen amassed a Commonwealth bronze and two silvers, a bronze at London 2012, and the European Championship title in 2015, before finally reaching the pinnacle of her sport in Rio. She is recognised at world level as one of the best in the business – shortlisted for the World Player of the Year Award and named in the FIH World All Stars Team three times

This success however has not always been assured. After glory at London 2012 Helen’s career was threatened at just 23 after she suffered two ruptured discs in her back within 11 months. With two rounds of back surgery, compounded by surgery on her ankle, consultants warned that it was unlikely she would ever play competitive hockey again.

Forced to spend two years out of the game she missed the World Cup in 2014, and had to watch from home as her wife and team mates stumbled to a lowly 11th place. Their performance only compounded the feeling that she had lost the chance to achieve a goal that she had dedicated her life to and worked incredibly hard towards for the past fifteen years.

Showing significant psychological and physical strength however Helen managed to return to the team and since the low of the World Cup has played an instrumental part of a leadership turn around at GB women’s hockey. Alongside Head Coach Danny Kerry and a close knit team of senior players they put in place team values, behaviours and tactics to create a winning culture within the squad. Central to this was finding small differences that could bring big results, and forging a team spirit that was strong enough to withstand extreme pressure. ‘Be the Difference, Create History and Inspire the Future’ was their team mantra, and in winning gold in Rio she feels immense pride that they have done just that

Today Helen is a hockey coach, continues to play at club level, and has completed a degree in psychology, inspired by her experience of battling back from injury and high performing teams. She is now embarking on masters in organisational psychology, serves as an ambassador for Access Sport, is an Athlete Role Model for the Youth Olympic Games and is patron of Tottenham’s LGBT fan club The Proud Lilywhites.

See keynotes with Helen Richardson-Walsh

Speaker Helen Richardson-Walsh keynote topics

Helen is experienced and confident with keynotes and Q&As. Her diverse topics can be dedicated to everyone such as corporate speaking, school speaking and team building.

Having excellent rapport with young people, as well as understanding that different individuals are motivated and enjoy different things, Helen is versatile in her approach and always caters for the players. She also speaks about the importance of diversity and inclusion, and uses her life and sporting experiences to encourage openness and confidence amongst the audience.

Helen can speak on the following themes:

  • High performance.
  • Motivation and goal setting.
  • Psychology and behaviours of a winning team.
  • Leading change.
  • Fighting back and mental wellbeing.
  • Inspiring a generation.
  • Diversity and inclusion.

What happens when relationships collide in sport? Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh share their story

Helen Richardson-Walsh on EIS and Mental Health Support

See keynotes with Helen Richardson-Walsh


Helen was FANTASTIC! We’re really happy with how the day went, and over the moon with Helen’s involvement.


Yesterday went brilliantly. Helen was a star and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!


She was fantastic, she was engaged with the event MC, the staff, family and children on site for the entire duration of her time with us. It was a real pleasure to meet her.


Helen was an absolute delight! Nothing was too much trouble and she smiled through the many, many photographs we took. The school, the children, the hockey club and Persimmon were all delighted with how it all went. I’m sure if the opportunity arises, we’d love to work with Helen again – as a sporting ambassadors for young people I don’t think you could get much better.


Helen is an inspiring speaker and shares her story with integrity and humour. She is intelligent and engages the audience with her honest insights into resilience and how she returned to the team following a period of serious injury. Her reflections of her leadership role, working with the team to set the right behaviour is extremely inspiring and motivating.


Helen was fantastic! Really added value to the event for both children and adults. She was brilliant from start to finish and would definitely book her again.


You were brilliant and very inspirational. The timing was just right and the positive message on your ‘vision’ was great – I have thought of it often!! Your pitch was just right, being for students and parents and your visual displays were great.

Non-binding request for Helen Richardson-Walsh

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Keynote topics with Helen Richardson-Walsh