Because the Jillaroos’ preparation for December’s FIH Junior World Cup ramps up, there was a time final yr that would show to be a key instigator in Australia’s U21 Girls’s Hockey Group’s probabilities of successful the showpiece occasion for the primary time.
Within the early levels of 2022, Jillaroos Head Coach Stacia Pressure sat down with Hockey Australia Nationwide Pathways Supervisor Andrew Collins and Girls’s Nationwide Athlete Pathway Coach Mark Hager to plan a Jillaroos schedule main as much as the 2023 Junior World Cup.
Upon her appointment, Pressure wished to not as a lot as give the nationwide junior ladies’s hockey program an overhaul, however construct a tradition, values system and expectations of what the Jillaroos stood for. To determine a legacy platform so any athlete that got here into the Jillaroos program had a transparent understanding of what being a part of the Jillaroos was about and the privilege that comes with it.
Throughout these planning discussions, a possibility arose to take a bunch of athletes and help employees for a camp in Alice Springs in Australia’s Crimson Centre.
Pressure jumped on the probability and in late August, 22 athletes got here collectively within the coronary heart of Australia for a mix of hockey, private and workforce growth periods.
The aim of the camp was based mostly across the overarching goals of the Jillaroos program which embody:
• successful the 2023 Junior World Cup,
• serving to to develop and transition athletes into the Hockeyroos program,
• growing gamers holistically and equipping them with abilities to develop character and a way of workforce, in flip enabling the athletes to positively contribute and achieve success in any excessive efficiency surroundings.
The camp was additionally about encompassing the Jillaroos’ method of play and rules, constructing a workforce tradition and rising connections and chemistry among the many group.
This onus on a Jillaroos identification and unity was accentuated with an intention to positively contribute to the expansion and growth of hockey within the Northern Territory, coupled with a possibility for studying and schooling about Aboriginal tradition and what it means to be Australian and symbolize the nation.
The camp took in cultural schooling at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and studying about bush tucker and bush medication at Standley Chasm.
To inform the story of the Jillaroos and its values, native Indigenous artists painted two hockey sticks for the Jillaroos to tackle all camps and journeys as a reminder of what they’re a part of and what the Jillaroos represents.
Pressure stated the camp was one of the pleasant and rewarding hockey experiences she has had in her life.
“We wished to re-think how we develop our athletes and what we prioritise of their growth,” stated Pressure.
“Whereas nurturing future Hockeyroos is our aim, our accountability is far more than this. It’s to additionally present an surroundings the place our younger ladies can develop and develop with a larger understanding of themselves and one another.”
“Alice Springs is a magical place and the center of Australia in each a geographical and metaphorical sense and it offered a possibility to create robust, significant connections. Reference to one another and connection to nation.
“This camp was an enormous a part of starting to create our identification, function and belonging to the Jillaroos.”
“The athletes and employees completely embraced all points of the camp and left with optimistic reminiscences that can final a lifetime, coupled with a larger consciousness and understanding of themselves, one another, Australian historical past, and tradition.”
“There was noticeable progress within the data, understanding and execution of abilities within the hockey part of the camp.
“Off the pitch, the actions and surroundings offered the chance for the employees and athletes to get to know one another away from hockey and construct deeper connections, which for my part, is essential to workforce success.
The vast majority of the camp was held on the Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre, a venue devoted to inspiring change by the schooling, ecotourism and occasions market.
“I can not advocate Earth Sanctuary and the employees extremely sufficient,” stated Pressure.
“Earth Sanctuary is run by a hockey household initially from Victoria, so there’s little doubt their real love of hockey contributed to the power and dedication they needed to our group.
“Along with organising the cultural actions, meals, campsite and general expertise, they went above and past to offer the group a memorable and lasting expertise.”
Three of the gamers who attended the camp (Grace Younger, Maddison Brooks and Alana Kavanagh) have since gone on to play for the Hockeyroos. Present Hockeyroos squad member Tatum Stewart, who missed the camp due to harm, may be added to that listing, highlighting the strides being made within the nationwide junior ladies’s program. The expertise in Central Australia arguably additionally had a optimistic affect.
Seeing the superb affect the camp had on the travelling occasion, Pressure stated taking a Jillaroos group to the Crimson Centre is one thing she would love to start out making a convention of.
“Hopefully that is one thing we will proceed to do sooner or later as the private and workforce progress throughout the Jillaroos squad was apparent for all to see, together with an genuine curiosity and need to find out about Indigenous tradition and Central Australia,” stated Pressure.
“It was distinctive and invaluable with each psychological and bodily points that we are going to all carry ahead to future Jillaroos camps within the lead as much as the Junior World Cup, in addition to life normally.”
“We seen a dedication, power and focus from gamers in any respect hockey periods, noticeable enchancment within the understanding and execution of Jillaroos rules and method of play. There was an actual enthusiasm and engagement of the group to all points each on and off the pitch.”