Holzberger on track for top
WHEN one of Australia's leading coaches and mentors is on your side, the sky is the limit.
And when a two-time Olympic gold medal-winning player offers you advice, you listen.
That's the case for exciting Ipswich hockey talent Jordyn Holzberger who is working closely with national coach Katrina Powell.
Holzberger, 18, is one of only three junior players from around the country to gain an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship this year.
She was also the youngest to have just completed her first stint in Perth.
Enjoying a Christmas break at her Yamanto home, Holzberger showed a new level of maturity in talking about her experiences and goals in yesterday's QT.
However, one of the most important people noticing that improvement is Perth-based Powell.
"She's got something about her that's a little different, which is enticing for the national squad," said Powell, the AIS, Australian under-21 and national assistant women's coach.
Powell spotted Holzberger about four years ago and was quickly impressed with her potential.
"The fact that she is progressing is testament to why she is involved in the AIS for 2011," Powell said.
The 1996 and 2000 Olympian has been working with the Ipswich product on a daily basis in recent months.
Being recognised as a future elite player means Holzberger will train regularly with Australia's 2012 Olympic squad when she returns to Perth next year.
Powell, a dangerous striker on the field, represented her country 252 times, scoring 141 international goals.
She also played in the 1993 Junior World Cup, knowing what Holzberger is trying to achieve in qualifying for Australia's 2013 team.
Three-time Olympian Powell was encouraged to hear Holzberger is keen to maintain her training throughout her break.
When asked what advice Powell would like to give to Holzberger, the Olympian was full of encouragement.
"Now that she's spent a year in the AIS, she's got her sights firmly set on playing at the very top level," Powell said.
"And that does always mean making sacrifices in other areas of your life and I think she's starting to work that out.
"When you're 18 and you've got to give up going out with your friends, some of the partying that goes on in that age group . . . you have to give up quite a bit.
"She's moved away from family already. That's a big deal.
"My advice is that it's all worthwhile in the end. The rewards are there.
"During 2011, she's not only grown as a hockey player but also as an adult and a person and she's making sacrifices to become a professional athlete.
"She's well on her way to achieving that."