With a heck of a lot of hard work, spanning over 10 years, Greta Hayes has aimed high and reached the revered Hockeyroos inner sanctum, writes Laura Hanlon.
SUSF Elite Athlete Program member and Sydney Uni Hockey Club player, Greta Hayes, made her debut in Australian colours at the senior level in 2018 and recently moved to Perth to train at the Australian Institute of Sport full-time with the national squad, hoping to continue her nursing studies cross-institutionally.
That’s where she is now, but what got her there? Talent, sacrifice, and skill are just some of the reasons which have landed the down-to-earth “dynamic midfielder” in the green and gold. Beyond that there’s a team throwing full support her way and for good reason.
The 22-year-old has thrown her full self into the sport since picking up the stick for Woollahra Public School in Year 5. She stuck to it and went on to play nationals in nearly every state. These representative opportunities broadened Greta’s aims. Then came selection in the Australian Under 21 squad for the World Cup. Greta was on her way to Chile and returned home with a medal to the team that has brought out her best.
My parents are the reason I started playing hockey at the age of 10. My dad used to play at quite a high level and my mum likes to think she was a gun UNSW first grader, but when both my sisters started playing. I thought I better join in too. From when I started I loved the game, and as such, Dad would take me to our local hockey field for regular training sessions. He’s always put a lot of time and effort into helping me with my hockey… he even coached the teams I was in for a few years! Even now I still do skills sessions with him when we can both fit it in. As for my mum, she put a lot of time (and petrol) into driving me all over Sydney for rep training throughout high school. When I recently debuted for the Hockeyroos, Mum, Dad, and my sister Georgina were there cheering me on for the tournament… they are my number 1 supporters.
Once I started playing hockey, the main reason I continued was due to my teammates and the friends that I made through hockey. I’ve always favoured playing team sports since I was a kid, purely because of the friends I have made through team sports and the social aspect of it. My hockey friends form a huge proportion of my social network and I’m still extremely close with friends who stopped playing in previous years.
Sydney University Hockey Club is my hockey family as I have been playing with the Club for about seven years. Our premier squad is an awesome bunch of girls, and we all love to hang out outside of hockey. The Club has always been very understanding of my rep commitments and has always encouraged me to play at a high level. Since I started at the University of Sydney, the Elite Athlete Program has also been incredibly helpful in organising special consideration for missed exams due to overseas trips.
My partner also plays hockey so he’s my training partner too. He always joins in on my running sessions (making me feel slow as a snail) but it makes such a huge difference having someone there to get you through the really hard interval sessions or to get you down to the park to do sprints when you really can’t be bothered.
Something I’ve always lived by since I started playing at a higher level is that you can only do your best and no one can ask anything more of you; but to do your best you need to know deep down that you did everything you possibly could to perform at 100% on the day. This inner drive has always driven me to train my hardest and take no shortcuts.