How to juggle a high level sporting career with a full-time job

High level sporting career

Alongside her role as Associate Director & working in the Executive Search team at Deverell Smith, Camilla Hayes is also a professional sportswoman, representing England in the Senior Lacrosse team.

This July she will compete at the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.

We spoke to Camilla about the effects of balancing a high level sporting career with the demands of her full-time role at Deverell Smith.

When did you first start playing Lacrosse?

I started when I was 11. It was one of the three key sports at my primary school, alongside netball and hockey. I was particularly good at lacrosse and hockey so continued with both as long as I could. When I moved to secondary school, the main sport was lacrosse so my focus inevitably turned to that.

When did your sporting career start to develop to the next level?

At the age of 13 I started attending the Junior England development camps – the aim of these programmes was to bring all the most promising young lacrosse players from around the country together for further skill development. They also acted as a pathway to U19’s team selection.

Over the next couple of years I worked my way up, playing in a number of U19’s fixtures. With the U19’s age group, it tends to be that you either fall really old or really young. Being just 15 at the time, I ended up as one of the youngest players on the squad when the first U19 World Cup took place in 2007. This was a huge learning experience for me and something I’m very proud of. When it came to the following World Cup four years later, I was then too old to play for the U19’s again so I was automatically moved up to senior level.

In 2009 I was then awarded a scholarship to go and play in the United States. I attended Berkeley University in California and played there for 18 months alongside studying. Sadly, due to funding cuts, the Lacrosse team, together with four other sports, was cut. With Lacrosse being the main reason for my decision to go Stateside, I elected to move to another university so that I could continue playing. Fortunately it’s very easy to transfer between universities over there, much easier than here in the UK, so I knew I would still be able to graduate on time too. I moved to the East Coast and attended Maryland University, which had one of the best Lacrosse programmes in America. During that time I played at one of the National Championship finals in front of 10,000 people – it was a very exciting time and a taste of things to come.

Following graduation, and upon returning to the UK, I took up a job in teaching for a year before applying to Deverell Smith and returning to my England lacrosse duties.

What are your current weekly sporting commitments?

I am currently in the gym once or twice a day, six times a week, and then have two weekends a month practicing Lacrosse. The players are located all over the country so mid-week training is virtually impossible – whilst I’m fortunate to live less than an hour away from our training ground, some girls travel all the way from Manchester. With the World Cup coming up however, it’s been pretty much every weekend training with my team, as opposed to every other.

Do you miss having your weekends to relax and unwind from work, like the rest of us usually do?

I’d be lying if I said that some Monday mornings weren’t a bit of a struggle! Having two days of 9am-5pm training sessions takes its toll on your body so I always try to go to bed early on a Sunday night to prepare myself for the week ahead.

Do you find it hard to commit to both your sporting and professional careers at the same time?

No not at all. Deverell Smith as an employer is so supportive of my Lacrosse and, without that support, it probably would be more stressful. On the odd occasion I do need to take some extra time off from work, perhaps for a tour or other competition, they are very flexible and accommodating.

There are also a lot of similarities between these two areas of my life – great leadership, being part of a team and having the support of your colleagues are qualities that run through both environments. That makes it much easier to switch between the two. I love both.

Deverell Smith is one of the sponsors of this year’s Lacrosse World Cup – tell us a bit more about that?

Deverell Smith is one of the shirt sponsors for the World Cup so their branding will be on all the England kit. As part of that sponsorship, they also receive event passes for each game, which provides a great opportunity for Deverell Smith to take clients down to the ground for a great day out and to show their support.

What are your predictions for this year’s competition?

This World Cup will be really interesting as the Gold, Silver and Bronze medal positions are all up for grabs, with the main contenders being us, the USA, Canada and Australia. We’ve had some really close matches with the USA, we’ve beaten Australia and they’ve beaten us, so it really is all to play for. It will also be the first home Lacrosse World Cup since 2001, so we’re hoping to capitalise on having the home advantage.

The Lacrosse World will take place July 12th to 22nd at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford. If you’d like to support Camilla and her team mates, you can purchase tickets here.