Hockey and career goals with Hattie Shand

In the past few years, Hattie Shand’s sporting career has gone from strength to strength. The SASI hockey graduate was selected in the 2022 Hockeyroos squad after being part of the Jillaroos and will head overseas next month to play in the Pro League Series.

Hattie Shand goes for goal

Off the pitch, Hattie has been just as busy. She completed a Bachelor in Animal Science at the University of Adelaide and now works at Murdoch University as a research lab assistant in the agriculture department. This involves a wide range of tasks including obtaining research data from cattle feedlots, animal carcass measurements and intramuscular fat content and growth rates of production animals, alongside many other agricultural and animal science fields of research.

For National Careers Week (15 – 21 May 2023), the 23-year-old rising star spoke about how she’s managed to excel in her studies, work and sport.

What are your career aspirations outside of sport?

To advise farmers on how to maximise the growth of production animals through maximising nutrition and minimising the impact on the environment.

How important is it for elite athletes to balance their careers and sport?

Extremely important - it is what sets you up for life once sport can no longer be the priority. It is also hugely beneficial in broadening your social skills as well as life skills such as organisation, communication and time management - which only further strengthens your abilities as an elite athlete.

How do you maintain work/study while competing or in your daily training environment?

It can be tough but also be extremely rewarding. It allows an escape from being an elite athlete and the pressure of performance by being surrounded at work by a whole new group of people. Work is mentally challenging as well as interesting, I learn new things every day which adds to my skillset.  Being organised and able to be the best version of myself at both work and at training is something I pride myself on, but this doesn’t come without prior planning and taking time for myself. Allowing myself time to relax and recover not only physically but also mentally is just as important and you must set aside time for this in order to perform at the highest level both at work and hockey. This comes in all forms but for me going to the beach, talking to family, long walks, hanging out with friends are all high on the list.

What are some of the skills you have developed through your sport that are transferrable to your career away from sport?

Organisation, punctuality, the ability to work and communicate effectively with others, brainstorming and problem solving, leadership skills, the ability to listen, hard work, commitment to a common goal, sacrifice, dedication and flexibility.

What are enjoying about your current work?

Meeting new people, learning about the agricultural industry, working in a team, contributing to a common goal, furthering my skillset for future career opportunities.

What’s a tip you could give other athletes thinking of studying, working, volunteering whilst still training and competing?

It may seem like a lot to take on but in the long run it will set you up well for life after. You never know when your sporting career could end – retirement after a successful career is best case scenario but injury or other circumstances are a possibility. This is why getting involved in something you enjoy and could use to support yourself is extremely important and worthwhile. A quick tip is to plan ahead and have a one-, two- and five-year plan so that you have a rough guide along with goals to aim for. And ask for help! There are so many people around you who are there to support you; utilise them!