I asked good friend and team mate Katie Burns what club hockey means to her. Katie plays for Greensborough Hockey club in Melbourne which is also my home team.
I hope you enjoy this. It is a great read and something I am sure most people can relate to. Id love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below. Big thanks to Katie for her time.
What do you enjoy most about playing club hockey:
Among other things, the thing I probably enjoy the most is the camaraderie you develop amongst both your team mates and other members of the club who are either players or social members. It’s a nice feeling to be able to get down to the hockey grounds even if you’re not playing and meet up with your second family and have a great time. It also forms the basis of your social circles, and you develop lifelong friendships for many years including your life after hockey.
Highlight of your career:
The highlight of my club career would have to be winning 3 x State League 1 Premierships within 6 years for Greensborough Hockey Club (affectionately known as the ‘Burra’). I’ve been privileged to be a member of this side during this successful period and on 2 occasions the Grand Finals went down to penalty strokes to decide the winner and I was honoured to be able to take a stroke on both occasions. Nothing like a game going down to the wire, and that sudden winning feeling when you know you’ve won! I guess we were kinda spoilt to have a current Australian Goal Keeper behind us to back us up? J
It was also pretty special to have my parents there to experience those GF wins on 2 occasions, as without their support over the years, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I did to become the player I am.
How important is Club competition for junior hockey players:
I think it’s really important for both their hockey development and also for their social development. I grew up in Cairns, Qld and owe a lot to my Junior club ‘Saints’ where I was fortunate to be exposed to a lot of great club coaches and players who developed me as a Junior player and moulded me into the player I am today. As a 14 year old, I was selected to play in the ‘A-grade’ team and I improved in leaps and bounds playing senior hockey. I also developed good social skills by training & playing alongside the adult players in my team. Team sports are a great way for Juniors to develop life long skills such as their social skills, cooperation, resilience, team work, self esteem, & leadership skills. For me, playing in a club competition as a junior player taught me many of these invaluable skills which I will have for life.
From a playing perspective, I encourage Junior players to attend as many senior club training sessions as possible because it’s really good for their development to be able to learn from and test themselves against the older, bigger stronger and more experienced players which will in turn, make them into better players themselves.
How important is club competition for veteran hockey players:
(How old do you think I am??)
But seriously, I think it’s really important for the club as a whole to be able to field sides from our youngest juniors right up to our most senior and most experienced players. Although the ‘veteran’ players might not be as quick and agile as they were in their prime, I still think players of every age and level can benefit from watching and learning from our most experienced and capped players as the game is forever changing and they have played a lot of hockey and have a variety of skills that each of us can learn from.
What does it mean to you to represent your club every week:
Although playing club hockey is a choice that you make as a player each year to keep going around, I feel privileged every week when I get to walk out for the State League 1 team which is the pinnacle of club competition in Victoria. It’s honourable that other players in the club look up to you, and want to learn from you and it’s nice to be able to teach them the skills that you’ve learnt over the years.
I also think that as a hockey player you owe everything to your hockey club/s, whatever level of hockey you have achieved or aspire to achieve, because without club hockey you wouldn’t have the opportunity to represent your district, region or State. A successful player isn’t a successful player without playing good quality club hockey week in, week out and also without the support of their hockey club.
For me, making all the representative teams in the world doesn’t make up for that feeling of winning a club premiership together with your mates who you train with week in, week out for the entire season. (Although the hangovers are killers!!)
What social events happen at your club:
What DOESN’T! To be honest, I might need to check some of the photo’s I’ve been tagged in over the past few years to confirm 😉
But some of the social events at Burra have included Trivia nights, Cocktail nights, Auction nights, Christmas in July parties, Games nights, Prom nights, Grand Final nights!!! And just random social events with made up names just because.
We also traditionally hold a “Round 18” Party (yep, another excuse for an event) where we celebrate the success of the club as a whole at the conclusion of the final round match of the season. Some teams will go off after that weekend into the finals series, other teams will just party like they’ve won a Grand Final and celebrate a great year together.
Do you feel playing club helps you to improve your hockey:
Most definitely. Even when I was playing representative hockey at a younger age and training at a high representative level, playing club hockey was the opportunity to improve on and put into practice the skills you have learnt from your representative training and use them to play well for your club. By training each week with your club team mates, you improve on your team work together and get to know how different players play and learn to adjust accordingly.
It’s also the time where you can play alongside your friends to work towards the ultimate goal of winning a premiership with your club.
Who has been your greatest inspiration:
I can’t say I’ve had one greatest inspiration.
I have had a lot of great coaches over my many years of growing up playing hockey in Qld who have all inspired me to be the best hockey player I can be. I wouldn’t be able to name them individually.
My parents have always been very supportive of my desire to play hockey at any level and apart from owing them thousands of dollars for all the sticks, equipment, x-ray’s/stitches bills and hockey trips over the years, they inspired me to have fun and enjoy what I do, and I think when you enjoy something, it’s just natural that you do it well.
Is it true that you get lollies and oranges at half time:
Yes, it’s true! I’m fairly sure that’s one of the only reasons a few of the girls keep coming back each year? And interestingly, there seems to be a lot more to go around since our goal keeper has now moved to Perth…..
I should also add that our team gets lolly bags (yep, comparable to that at small child’s Birthday Party) after we play our “Away” games, which can be anywhere from ½ hour to 3 hours away. We also get super lolly bags when we make finals. Hey – whatever works! 😉
What makes a good club:
You couldn’t have a good club without the passion and dedication of the club members. Hockey clubs rely heavily on lots of volunteers, which includes people to work in the canteen & behind the bar; the dedication and commitment of the coaches & managers for all teams & the umpires of the club; the amazingly talented ball boys who turn up week after week; and the supporters who turn up rain, hail or shine – through good times and bad.
Because hockey is unfortunately an amateur sport, we also rely heavily on our club sponsors and support of the club members at fundraising events to raise the money required to run the club and purchase new equipment and maintain and develop the facilities.
All of the above carry out an often thankless role within the club, which makes being a player the easy part!
What is the best club in the world:
Greensborough Hockey Club, Melbourne!
UP THE BURRA!