WITH a military background, national level experience and grassroots focus, Sam Spry has plenty to offer Ipswich hockey.

However, it's not only players and coaches that the new regional coaching director has in her sights.

The former South Australian and Northern Territory coach is keen to include parents in her future plans to bolster the sport.

"We don't just want to engage the kids but engage the parents as well so we can show them the player pathway and explain what happens and how it works,'' Spry said.

"It starts here at grassroots. How we can make it better for the kids and give every child the possibility of not just representing Ipswich but representing Queensland and then that next progressive step into international representation.

"We'll do a lot of work with off-field education (see panel story).''

Spry, 38, believes her military career as a deployment clerk has helped her establish sound values and a strong work ethic.

"Because I joined at such a young age (17), it was certainly a whole-rounded lifestyle change,'' she said.

"It certainly teaches you how to be responsible and accountable for yourself and your actions.

"I like to make sure things are in place.

"That in itself is a good grounding for this (new role) because it allows me to very organised and make sure that we are meeting the right deadlines and the kids are getting everything that they need.''

Her husband Adam still serves in corporate governance at Amberley, having shared her hockey journeys around the country.

However, a longer-term posting to the Ipswich base has given Sam and her family a chance to settle.

"I have two children - 16 and 14 - and it was about giving them stability in schooling, especially with their goals in mind,'' she said.

"The military were very good to us in giving us a six-year back-to-back posting.''

GRASSROOTS FOCUS: Ipswich Hockey’s new regional coaching director Sam Spry is getting down to business.
GRASSROOTS FOCUS: Ipswich Hockey’s new regional coaching director Sam Spry is getting down to business. David Nielsen

Spry replaces former regional coaching director Neil Shearer, who finished in May.

Spry has played hockey since she was four, making state teams and being chosen in the Australian under-18 development squad.

She progressed to Australian Country and national league level, representing the Northern Territory at the Arafura Games.

In recent years, she's become an Australian masters (over-35) representative.

The Eastern Suburbs Division 2/3 Brisbane midfielder doesn't plan to play in the Ipswich competition to keep a neutral perspective.

Before starting her new role at Raceview, level 2 coach Spry was heavily involved with development in the Northern Territory and Adelaide.

She hopes to enhance her skills in Ipswich.

"I knew it was an association that has the potential to be a very strong association,'' she said, now living at Springfield Lakes.

"As hockey does, we have these peaks and troughs and it's starting to grow again.

"We've got a very good player base out here and we're quite lucky at the moment that we have got a good even keel of young men and women coming through.

"There's some exciting young players in there."


Key Position

Ipswich Hockey regional coaching director Sam Spry

  • Born: Port Broughton, South Australia.
  • Past career: 10 years active service in the military; still a reservist.
  • Playing highlights: Australian development under-18 team, Australian Country and Australian over-35 masters; Australian Defence Force national teams.
  • Coaching snapshot: Teams from under-13 to senior level in Melbourne, Darwin and Brisbane. Involved with development clinics at state and Northern Territory level; assistant coach Northern Territory under-21 team.
  • Biggest challenge: "Change. It's hard for people to accept change. I don't want to make dramatic changes because if things are working, we are going to maintain them. For me, it's about fixing up our problem areas and just injecting where we possibly can, and just making the hockey community that much better.''
  • Most rewarding part: "Those lightbulb moments . . . to see the expressions on the kids' faces and watch them come off, no matter what the scoreline is, and see that they have achieved their goal.''

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