TAC Cup Girls coach Tamara Hyett was 35 when she played her first senior game of football at the St Kilda Sharks. While a love of AFL has always coursed through Hyett’s blood, she spent most of her adult life as a professional golfer but knew her first love of football would always find its way back into her life.
“I always knew when I finished up with my golf commitments I would find my way back into football,” she said.
“Having played such a selfish and individual sport in golf, I missed that team environment, and I wanted to get back involved.
“I used to travel overseas with a football when I was on tour and myself and a couple of the caddy’s used to have a kick for something a bit different.”
Playing football as a junior and knowing the rigours associated with being a professional athlete, Hyett was well-placed when she became Senior Assistant coach at the St Kilda Sharks VFLW team.
After the Sharks lost their licence in the VFLW at the end of the 2017 season, Hyett considered her future in the sport. An opening in the Sandringham Dragons TAC Cup program eventually led her to coach under-18s football.
“Ryan approached me … I didn’t initially apply for the job because I didn’t think I would have time,” she explained.
“But with all the resources in place and knowing I would have help I thought it would be a nice change to coach underage girls and assisting their development.”
Starting her tenure with the girls’ team over the summer, Hyett has made her focus to educate the squad rather than coach them.
“What we’ve found with the girls is they are quite literal, the majority haven’t been bought up playing football, so they are very new,” she explained.
“Majority of our girls have been picked on athletic ability with a handful picked on football ability, so we have to educate them more in the football sense.”
The focus of the TAC Cup programs is development, but for Hyett, there are some evident skills and attributes she is trying to instil in the girls.
“Obviously the bottom line is wins and losses but … I think it is a holistic approach,” she said.
“We are all about developing, educating and making sure they have balance … a lot of these girls are doing year 12, so we want to make sure they understand what is required.
“We want to educate them across a whole heap of things like nutrition, making sure they are getting plenty of sleep and things like that … we are educating them not just as footballers but as individuals well.”
Hyett’s coaching mantra has resonated well with the squad. TAC Cup Girls captain Jemma Owen believes Hyett has “brought a lot to our young playing group”.
“She is so enthusiastic and wants the best out of her players, and it has been proven by the hard work that the girls have put in throughout the pre-season and leading up to the beginning of our season,” she said.
The Sandringham Dragons will continue their TAC Cup Girls season this Saturday against the Oakleigh Charges in Healesville from 11:45 am.