Victorian Institute of Sport

Padget on Route

Tuesday, 04 September 2018

The route that Hayley Padget has followed to Hockeyroos selection isn’t the traditional pathway through junior teams and programs. The 25-year-old is finally making her Australian team debut after uncountable setbacks including numerous injuries.

“To be honest, it means more to me to share this selection than it does just mean to me,” said Padget.

“For the last 9 years I've been prioritizing hockey in an attempt to make the Hockeyroos squad and just like everybody else, I've had my fair share of ups and downs. Some that have nearly broken me.”

The unwavering support from various networks has been vital over the years. Without these, Padget may have given away the sport.

“The reassurance I've received from all my coaches, support staff, understanding employers, university, friends and family is what has kept me healthy and persisting,” said Padget.

The dream of representing Australia had left the forefront of her mind, directing her focus to important figures in her life.

“I think I moved past the point of dreaming of the day I played for Australia, and started focusing on the relationships around me and the processes ahead.

“Overcoming injuries was one of the hardest things I have had to go through in my life.

“Yes it hinders your progression, segregates you from your teammates and often means you have a few hard months of rehab ahead of you, but it also takes away the one thing that's been constant in your life, your sport. And sometimes that's a part of your identity.

“I struggled with this immensely, however I received a ridiculous amount of support from my family & friends and the VIS family. My mum, dad and brother have always taken care of me when I thought my world was crumbling and I'll forever be grateful for the millions of ways they have supported me.

“The VIS has been another network over the years that I haven't had to question. I appreciate their willingness to plan and adjust my rehab sessions and above all the faith they have shown in me to get back. It made my job as an athlete that much easier. This includes but isn't shy of my strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapist, doctor, nutritionists, hockey coaches and an external psychologist.”

Recently, Padget was in Perth on Visiting Athlete Agreement scholarship for a training stint. The experience boosted her confidence in her ability but she admits she has plenty to improve upon.

“Even now at 25 I still see myself improving on my skills, decision making and overall fitness, so each time I'm back in Perth I feel that little bit more confident in my game,” said Padget.

“I definitely still have a long way to go, but throughout all of this I do think I'm a stronger player and a wee bit of a wiser person... So I think little HP playing with her friends at Doncaster would be proud.”

Following the training camp in Perth, Padget gained selection for the Hockeyroos for the upcoming tour of Japan.

“I think I've been very fortunate to call VIS home as our community of employees and athletes have created a supportive environment, which I think adds a really nice personal touch. This in combination with the Women's Hockey Program enabled me to show up at the training camp in the best possible shape and frame of mind,” said Padget.

“This time round, I think I was fortunate enough to be noticed.”

 The Hockeyroos team is due to fly to Japan on Thursday 6 September, ahead of their opening match of the Four Nations against Japan on Wednesday 12 September.

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