THEY say you should never meet your heroes but a Dunfermline and Carnegie Hockey Club player would disagree after meeting a decorated Olympian.

Nicola Crawford, along with clubmate Ruth Poole, travelled south to meet and learn from Maddie Hinch MBE.

The Team GB goalkeeper is regarded as the best in the world and her training camp proved to be a night to remember for Nicola and Ruth.

The pair jumped at the chance to pick up words of wisdom from Hinch, who added to her ever-growing medal collection with a bronze at the Olympic Games this summer.

For Nicola, a chance to meet her hero was too good to pass up and she told Press Sport that the camp was just as special as she imagined it would be.

"I got to meet my hero and not many people get to say that," she said.

"The camp was attended by around 20 people, which meant that we got to have that personal coaching which makes such a difference.

"There's usually more than 100 at these camps but this time we really got to spend time with her and she was so open to questions and wanted to listen and help us.

"To receive high-level coaching from her, and all the other coaches at the other stations, it was amazing."

Learning from demonstrations and practising certain drills until "you had them nailed down", Nicola felt the near-four-hour session was more than worth the journey.

"Each coach (including the Scottish and Welsh goalkeeping coaches) paid attention to what you were doing and made sure you got it before you moved on to the next station," she said.

"It was a real privilege, actually. When it got to Maddie, she picked up on everything right away.

"For me, she taught us the basics so well, like your stance and ready position.

"She's the world number one for a reason and it showed on the night, definitely.

"She's been a hero of mine for a number of years for a number of reasons, with her preparation, for example, really inspiring. She writes down notes on the opposition on her water bottle so she knows what they'll do in a game, and her heroics in Rio is another moment that really was amazing.

"She won a gold medal at that Olympics and in the final she saved every penalty in the shoot-out; she's known for her shoot-outs.

"For me though, it was her mentality as well. She was angry that they had conceded and could lose the game but her mindset and performance as a result was fantastic."

The training comes at an ideal time as the hockey season will soon commence for the ladies' teams.

While the first team will have to wait a little longer for their first match, the seconds played on Saturday, with Nicola umpiring.

She cannot wait to get back playing herself as her last competitive match was in March 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

"It's been pretty devastating not being able to play," she said.

"We've had friendlies but you can't replicate the intensity of playing in league games and competitions.

"We're all really looking forward to it and, hopefully, Ruth and I can take what we learned from the camp into the new season.

"I've always kept my eye on when the camps would be held and, as we both want to develop, we had this trip planned for weeks.

"It really was one of the best weekends as it was something fun to look forward to after so long.

"It was quite surreal but it also felt like a bit of normality again, which we've all missed."