Recently image central spoke to Sally Mullally at the Cromwell hockey turf as she was preparing the Central Otago Collier Trophy (under 13 girls) team for the national tournament. Sally is extensively involved in Central Otago hockey and has a very refreshing coaching philosophy …
Sally Mullally is heavily involved in hockey. So heavily we can’t even summarise her involvement into a short sentence. So here is a rundown of what she is up to during hockey season:
• Coaching a Year 7 and 8 Quick Sticks team that her daughter (Bridget) plays in for the Alexandra Club.
• Central Otago coach of the primary school girls representative team (Collier team).
• Manager of teams that her son plays in at Dunstan High School.
• Member of the Dunstan High School hockey committee.
• Running the Fun Sticks program at the Terrace School.
• Working as a part time Hockey Development Officer for Hockey NZ.
So the hockey season is a busy time for Sally with something hockey related happening 4-5 times per week.
We chatted with Sally while she was coaching the Collier Trophy (under 13 girls) Tournament team. The Collier Trophy is a national primary school tournament that will be held in Hamilton from the 3rd to the 8th of October. On top of getting ready for the tournament the team is also fund raising to cover some fairly hefty tournament costs ($1,500 per person).
Sally sees this year as a building year for this team. The team was placed 21st equal with Counties-Manukau out of 24 teams at the tournament held in Palmerston North last year. Sally says that one of the team’s goals this years is to make it into the top 20.
Sally has had extensive involvement in coaching Hockey since studying at Physical Education at Otago University. Her first team was St Hilda’s in Dunedin and she later went on to coach the Southland Girls High School hockey 1st XI as well. Locally, Sally has coached at all levels from senior women’s to Hatch Cup (under 13 boys), Collier Trophy, Dunstan High School and fun sticks (5 year olds) teams.
Sally says her grounding in hockey came from growing up playing in the Maniototo where she started playing hockey at primary school:
“Hockey is just what you did in the Maniototo and the people who taught, us taught us properly.”
She went on to play for Otago and Southland and was in the National age group (under 18) squad and was also a New Zealand under 21 rep trialist.
Sally has enjoyed several sports and considers it important for children to try out a range of sports:
“I do believe that there is a sport for everyone – there are different sports that suit people and they should find their own wee sport to excel in it. It’s about giving them the opportunity to try as many sports as they can and let them have a go in it.”
Sally’s says that her children Ben (15), Tom (14), Bridget (11) and Jake (8) enjoy their sport and it’s important to her that they stay involved.
With coaching, Sally gets immense enjoyment out of seeing players develop and improve. But more importantly, Sally emphasises enjoyment, particularly for younger kids. As she says:
“We try not to worry about the outcome … At primary school level it’s about development and that they all have a go. Some parents on the side-lines are very outcome focused, but I am not interested, they are primary school kids and it’s about their development and enjoyment. If you ask a kid a couple years later ‘did you win the game’ they won’t remember, but they will remember whether they enjoyed the sport.”
Sally is instilling this philosophy in her Collier Trophy team. With the assistance of Paula Hill, she is trying to teach the girls to read the game and improve their skills. But she’s mainly focused on feeding their passion for the sport. She hopes that the girls enjoy their time at the tournament and continue with hockey when they start high school next year.
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