Going for hockey gold

2016-07-13 06:00
PHOTO: jonathan burton Coach, Kara Stella, hopes to bring home gold in the upcoming Spar KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge with her team from Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School.

PHOTO: jonathan burton Coach, Kara Stella, hopes to bring home gold in the upcoming Spar KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge with her team from Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School.

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PIETERMARITZBURG’S Kara Stella, South African Women’s hockey player, began her love affair with hockey from a young age and enjoyed learning the technical side of the sport.

“I think what I love most about the game is that it’s such a technical sport so there is always something new to learn. I also love being able to express myself on the field, it has an awesome culture and some of the best people I have met, have been through hockey,” she said.

The versatile athlete has not one, but three national colours to her credit, having represented South Africa for the U20 women’s basketball team, indoor and outdoor hockey. “I would like to cement my place in the national side, and hopefully get the opportunity to go to a major tournament,” said Stella.

Having been awarded the Indoor Player of the Series when they toured Namibia there last year, she then followed up that performance with another Player of the Series, this time at home also against Namibia in December.

“Any time you wear the green and gold is incredible but actually, my proudest moment was captaining Tuks when we won USSA in 2013. We as a team had to overcome a lot that year, and it was a really rewarding feeling being able to get a reward for all that hard work.
“A close second though was being able to sing the national anthem at Hartleyvale in Cape Town when I played my fifth Test after trying to get back into the team for five years. That was a special and personal moment for me,” she said.

With 11 caps for the national team, Stella decided to share her knowledge with future generations.
“The thing I enjoy most about coaching children is that moment when the light bulb flashes and they understand the skill or idea you have been trying to teach them. With that realisation comes this pure joy and happiness that just lights up their face. To me, that is the best feeling in the world, because you just enhance their passion for the game. Coaching children isn’t just about teaching them a skill; it’s about showing them what they are capable of if they just try. When I coach, I try not coach just the game, I try use the game to teach them life skills as well,” said Stella.

She will now coaching the first team from Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School and hopes her team will be able to bring home gold in the upcoming Spar KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge having only won silver and bronzes over the entire history of the tournament.

“I think it’s an awesome way to showcase the hockey talent in this country. It’s also good for children to see what is out there and the competition they have. Hopefully it will motivate them to work harder and fuel their passion for the game.

“Hockey tournaments like this are also great for developing relationships as well and make you feel like you are part of community,” said Stella. - Supplied

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