Why Sara super fit to become quality coach
WHILE coaching club and representative teams rarely gets easier, loyal Ipswich mentor Sara Rogers is definitely more comfortable.
Having coached a Hancock Brothers A Grade men's side to the 2018 grand final victory and to other titles last season, Rogers has made impressive progress.
She was also assistant coach of last year's national title-winning Queensland under-18 women's team, all while still fulfilling dual playing roles in the Ipswich and Brisbane competitions.
But preparing for another busy hockey season, Rogers has no intention of slowing down.
She's added the Ipswich men's coaching role for the Queensland Open championships in Brisbane in early May.
She'll continue guiding the Hancocks men and work with the Queensland under-18 side along with playing for Hancocks in Ipswich and for Ascot in the Division 1 Brisbane competition.
"It's something that I like doing,'' Rogers said.
"Coaching really good quality players is always more enjoyable as well.''
Being the 2019 Amy Korner Excellence award winner for her multiple talents, Rogers knows coaching is the next stage of her hockey career - after playing some more.
She's already getting an Ipswich open men's squad together preparing for the state open titles. The Labour Day weekend series is back this year as a city-based format with no Super League (regional) competition being staged.
The Ipswich born and bred personal trainer has also been actively working on the fitness levels of her Hancocks A-Grade side.
It will be her third season overseeing an A-Grade men's side.
Having won everything but the grand final last year, Hancocks are eager to replicate their 2018 grand final triumph this season.
The Hancocks men had their first major pre-season hit-out in last weekend's annual Tiger Turf Cup where they had a quarter-final finish.
State player Zac Profke (Norths) and Brisbane competition talents Zac and Caleb McCoombes joined Hancocks regulars for the nine-a-side tournament.
Rogers said having six matches provided excellent pre-season preparation, especially with recent weather disruptions.
"It gives you a bit of a hit-out before the season starts and against some very, very high quality opposition,'' she said.
"It's something that we've done the last couple of years and the boys have enjoyed it.''
Hancocks lost Pool B matches to reigning Brisbane Hockey League premiers Labrador (3-0), Kedron-Wavell (1-0) and defending Tiger Turf Cup champions Commercial (3-1), before beating Valley 2-0.
Hancocks were eliminated by star-studded Easts 3-0 in the quarter-finals on Sunday, before again losing to Commercial 6-0 in the Plate semi-final.
As a coach still close to the ground as a player, Rogers knows the importance of building in the pre-season.
"The off season is a great time to get out and do other things but I always look forward to the season starting again,'' she said.
She also helped Ipswich Hockey regional coaching director Hugh Hocking with some of his off-season programs which she said "is always fun''.
Fitness has been the major focus at Hancocks and with the group of Ipswich open team players already working together.
Hancocks have some of last year's players in doubt or moving on like Blake Douglas switching to Norths.
However, Rogers was confident in the A-Grade group she has to work with again.
Nathan Smith remains as captain, having also had a run in last weekend's Tiger Turf Cup series.
Reid Jackwitz is Hancocks goalkeeper.
Rogers will be assisted by manager Mick "Butts'' Butler.
"It's always pleasing to see a number of our loyal players back up each season,'' she said.
"We're fortunate that majority of both squads (men and women) are filled with Hancock juniors.''