Taylor Hand - Absolutely Loving It
"Go out, have fun and give it a red hot crack, and the rewards will come with it all."
Eight months ago, we published our first player feature article, which was on an SANFLW player.
So, to celebrate our 100th feature, we have gone back to where it all started.
Join us as we take a look at a very proud West Adelaide player and an accomplished athlete, Taylor Hand. And help us celebrate 100 articles of showcasing what women’s footy has to offer.
Taylor Hand’s football career is considerably new. Beginning in 2018, she played half of the SAWFL season with Adelaide University, where she would go onto to play in the “Div. 1 Reserves Premiership with the Blacks”.
However, her career quickly evaluated the following year, as she earned a spot in Woodville-West Torren’s inaugural SANFLW squad.
She would also go onto play in Adelaide University’s Div. 1 Premiership that same year; which understandably, is one of her most favourite memories thus far.
“Playing in the Premiership was just absolutely surreal.”
“The whole process of the week leading up to the game, waking up on game day, arriving with your team, warming up and being out on the field for the first bounce of the grand final with all your best mates who you’ve been working so hard with for the past 16 rounds to get to where you are.”
“The game itself was such a blur, I just couldn’t believe the whole time that we were playing in the actual 2019 Grand Final. There was so much excitement watching the clock countdown the last few minutes of the game right up until the final siren.”
“We ended up winning by two points. Even when I was celebrating after that final siren, I had to check the score board several times to confirm we had actually just won the Premiership.”
“Playing in a Grand Final is a once in a lifetime experience, but to be able play alongside your best friends and get the win, makes the experience so special.”
However, there may still be some more great memories heading her way. As she is now with West Adelaide for the 2020 SANFLW season.
Which so far she has been “absolutely loving it”.
Because West Adelaide is “such a great, positive learning environment. Awesome bunch of girls as well as super supportive coaching staff. Have definitely developed a lot there, I am very excited to see how we go this season.”
While Taylor Hand’s football career seems bright, the fact that it has progressed so quickly may have something to do with the success she had in her previous sport.
And this is because, before football, Taylor was a national athlete, or more specifically a 400m Hurdler.
But not only that, she was rather talented to say the least.
Considering she was ranked fifth in Australia for her age group for five years in a row and was also a National Silver Medallist for the 4x100m relay when she represented South Australia, it isn’t a surprise that she picked up football as quick as she did.
While she also finished as a finalist in the 400m hurdles, it does beg the question of how this gifted hurdler ended up playing football.
“After my athletics career, I tried a range of sports like touch footy, soccer, and a few others; which I thoroughly enjoyed though none could keep me interested in it for more than a season.”
“A friend of mine who plays for Adelaide Uni suggested I come to a footy training with her to see if I’d like it, so I went to an Adelaide Uni football training and instantly fell in love.”
“I just remember getting home from my first training and was asking the people I was living with if they wanted to have a kick with me. I couldn’t get enough of the sport, so that’s when I decided to join Adelaide Uni Football Club.”
And of course, her athletics background proved to be extremely valuable. As she not only has tremendous pace and stamina, but the fact that she already had it, meant she could focus on the other fundamentals of football.
“Athletics has definitely helped with my footy. I have been able to utilise my speed throughout games as a wing and forward player. So, since starting football, all I have needed to really focus on is developing my ball skills.”
“Coming into a sport like football with a fitness and speed base already built, has definitely helped with things like leads, beating players to the ball, as well as my run and carry out on the wing.”
However, while it is safe to say that her fitness is top level, after speaking with Taylor about her goals for the future, it also becomes evident that she also has a very smart approach to her football, in terms of setting goals.
“With goal setting, I have just been setting little goals that can help with the bigger goals for later.”
“Last preseason for SANFLW I was travelling nearly 1000km a week to make a training which made it hard to be consistent throughout the preseason. "
"Since I’m in Adelaide for this preseason, it makes it a bit easier to set those goals I want to achieve, and achieving them through not only training, but also by having proper sleep, recovery, a good diet, and having time to put in extra hours at the gym or pool.”
“At the moment, I’m focusing on having a consistent SANFLW season by playing in every game I can. Once I can play a bit more consistently, then I’ll be able to set smaller goals for each game.”
And these goals seem very achievable, not just because of Taylor’s passion and high work rate, but also because of the great support she has.
Great support that she would like to take a chance to thank.
“My family, they have been supportive since day one, travelling to Adelaide from Mildura (Victoria) every SANFLW game and nearly every SAWFL game. And if they can’t make a game, they are watching the live stream.”
“Cassie Tsoumbris for being such an amazing, supportive person, being there through my highs and lows.”
“My old running coaches Geoff Holmes and Simon Moran. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance and support in my athletics career.”
“And lastly, Mark and Trent Moody (coaches from Adelaide Uni and West Adelaide), for always believing in me, motivating me and pushing me to be best player I can be.”
As we mentioned earlier, Taylor’s football career is considerable new; but despite this, she has still witnessed the growth of women’s football.
“I haven’t played women’s footy for long, but I’ve been keeping tabs on the progress of the sport for a while now, in both Mildura and Adelaide.”
“In Mildura, they are about to enter their fourth women’s footy season, with the participation increasing every year.”
“In Adelaide, it’s been exciting to not only watch the increasing number of teams joining leagues around Adelaide, but also hearing people talk more about it. It is in the papers, people want to know more about it and how to become more involved, it is fantastic to see.”
“Even going to come and try sessions with younger girls in their very own football playing guernsey rather than having to wear their brothers. It is so great to see they now have an opportunity to play football.”
“It is just so amazing to see the progress women’s football has made over the past few years. I can’t wait to see what more there is in store for not only women’s football, but women’s sporting opportunities as well.”
And just as she is excited to see the continued growth of women’s sport; we are exited to see not just how Taylor performs but also how West Adelaide goes during this SANFLW season.
“I have developed so much over the winter season at Adelaide Uni, and to be able to follow my Adelaide Uni coach to Westies and develop even further there has been so exciting and very beneficial!”
“I am very excited to see how westies go this season. Westies players who have been there previous seasons have said this is the best season prep they have ever had, which is great to hear.”
We will be sure to keep an eye on Taylor during the 2020 SANFLW season, not just because she is a great player, but also because she has potential to become so much more.
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