Monday, January 08, 2007

Awesome Leana!!

Leana Hoani is the captain of the NZ woman's team looking to bring home gold in the world cup in South Africa this month! It has been a great Privilege training Leana as she has showed a warrior spirit in training and a ability to grow and nurture herself outside of the world of Touch!

Thank you Leana for an open mind and willingness to train all aspects of your life and not just the sporting one, to be a more complete person and a more complete athlete!!

EHP: Leana give a brief outline of your sporting achievements in touch or other sports?
Here are my most recent Touch achievements;
Have played representative Touch for 12 years for Thames Valley, Nelson Bays, Southland and Canterbury.
1998 – 1st New Zealand Team. U19 Womens Team (Captain)
2000 – 2001 New Zealand U21 Womens Team (Captain) 2nd at Youth World Cup
2002 – 2003 New Zealand Open Womens Squad for World Cup (never made final team)
2004 – New Zealand Open Womens Team (Co-Captain) Tour to Queensland
2005 – New Zealand Open Womens Team (Vice Captain) All Nations Tournament
2006 – New Zealand Open Womens World Cup Team (Captain)
National Womens Open Champs 2004, 2005, 2006 with Canterbury
Womens Open MVP (Most Valuable Player) 2006
National Touch Series Womens MVP 2005 & 2006

EHP: What has been the highlight to playing touch for NZ so far and who are your major competitors for the world cup?
My highlight so far while playing for New Zealand was in 2005 in Christchurch. We competed in the 1st ever All Nations Tournament and although we did not win, we came back hard against Australia in the Final to get to a drop off. In the previous round robin game Australia had beaten us by 5. It was also special because it was in front of my family and friends.

EHP: You have been training with me 6wks out to the leaving for the world cup, what has been the greatest benefits since training with me?
Wow where do I start.
Firstly physically – I never know what each session will hold, everytime is different and more challenging.
My upper body has got stronger and more defined. My lower half is definitely stronger and from having no power in my glutes and hammies to actually feeling some muscle there is awesome.

My knee which has always been a problem since its surgery, has not played up once, and I know that’s due to the strength work I’m doing on its surrounding muscles. Overall I feel physically stronger and Faster.
Mentally – I had no idea that I would change mindset and way of thinking so much in 6 weeks. Spida got me to keep a journal of which daily I had to write down 1 thing I was grateful for and 1 thing I wanted but to word it in the past tense. It has helped me hugely in balancing out my chaotic life, when all I have been worried about in the past has selfishly been me and my goal of winning world cup. In balancing my life I have only made more positive steps to my gold medal.

I have thrived on not only our training sessions but my conversations with Spida afterwards. We can sometimes talk for another half an hour after a session and it always leaves me with a positive energy when I leave. So much so that I notice myself talking with my family and friends about not only how much stronger my body is getting but how much stronger my mind and way of thinking is getting.

EHP: How do you think the above has impacted on your performance as a touch player?

Physically – I feel more powerful which equates to more speed. My role generally in the team is as a scooper, and I feel that my initial standing start and take off has got quicker. I have done a lot of work on my rotation and hip movement which only serves to help my evasion skills and quicker directional changes.

When we train Spida tried to replicate what times frames I do in a game of Touch. So we would train for 2min on then rest and so on. It has helped with my recovery time and my ability to still think and communicate even when I’m tired.

Mentally – I’m more confident in myself which I’m sure portrays in my own game. I’m more positive and effective in my communication with my team mates. I am much better and practicing my visualization.

EHP: What has been the hardest (most challenging) part since coming on board? Training, eating, recovery, diary etc….

Firstly the hardest thing was to actually decide to do it. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to handle what Spida gave me, but now although I still get extremely sore and tired I LOVE the feeling it gives me and I have surprised myself.
(I won’t lie though, those killer treadmill sessions although only 2mins, makes me sick in the stomach every time….he he)

Eating has been challenging, purely because since training I have noticed how hungry I am all the time. It was a challenge to change my breakfast to meat and nuts, but now it’s the norm and I love it. Due to the time of year being Christmas and New Year obviously there were a few times I wasn’t happy with my consumption of food either.

EHP: From the above, are you training less or more since you started with me?

I would say I’m having around about the same amount of sessions, however my sessions have become a higher quality. Spida has done for me in 6 weeks what I have been trying to do for myself for the last 5 years of my elite touch career. I have always trained hard and I get by easy enough, but Spida came along at the right time for me, when I really needed to raise the bar in my training.

EHP: Does your body look any different in the 6wks we have trained? Do you feel you have less bodyfat, increase muscle etc… even though that was never a priority?!

Definitely changes! I’m not sure on body fat yet but will find out I guess. I feel the happiest I have felt in ages with ME and where I’m at physically and mentally. I think and feel that I have more muscle and am more defined in some areas.




8 Jan 07 @ 8am

Scale Weight

69.5 (shoes off)

68kg (shoes off)

Body Fat {mm}



















Mid axillary



Supa iliac









Medial Calf










Mid Arm









Hips (under belly button)






Thigh (under butt)






EHP: What advice would you give to someone looking to aspire to play for NZ touch?
Obviously Touch is not a professional sport so in order to get anywhere for starters you have to have a passion for it.
I have loved this game since I was 10 years old. I have had a lot of knock backs in my build up to this point and my honest advice is to not rest on your talent. In the game of Touch there are a lot of talented young people who have cool steps or big moves, but to play for NZ and not just be in the team but be the one that sets the standard you have to put your heart and sole into your training, so by the time you get to that one important game its not hard its FUN