Tara Steel hung up her own playing bib a little earlier than she ever expected but it has led her down a different netball path - coaching.
Her coaching journey kick started in 2013, fast forward to Tuesday and she was named as the Capital Spirit under 23s head coach for 2022.
"When the opportunity came to coach, it was probably a little bit sooner than I expected," she said.
"I retired from playing quite young, I think I was at 27 at that stage. So I got involved in coaching at CNA and then have been involved as the division one head coach ever since.
"The last few seasons there for us have been quite successful, we didn't get to finish this year but two grand final wins the last two years, and we were on track for a grand final appearance before the competition ceased because of COVID, so it's been a successful few years.
"I guess I was looking at what's next to challenge me as a coach, and where I could keep adding value to the netball pathway or program here in the ACT."
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Steel has previously coached ACT under 17 and 19 state teams, was assistant coach for the Canberra Giants in the Australian Netball League, and has been the Canberra Netball Association state league head coach since 2013.
The increased commitment for her in the NSW Premier League was one she did not take lightly, but thankfully her workplace, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, was supportive.
The new Spirit coach said she want to teach, support and challenge the athletes to be the best they could be, and athlete development was a focus area.
"The commitment, obviously traveling to Sydney, there is a little bit more required in doing that but for me, I feel like it's a great time to get involved at that level," she said.
"Something like Capital Spirit offers the ability to try and get the best out of people and young athletes that may have aspirations to to play professional netball, or to play in high level competitions netball and ensure that they've got the right support and skills and technical and tactical development to do that. Whilst in an environment that they enjoy participating in and making it fun.
"Athletes that are involved in a lot of training, and programs like Spirit, that involve a significant amount of travel to Sydney weekly to play, first and foremost, they've got to have fun and enjoy what they're doing or it becomes a very long season and a hard slog, regardless of how successful you are on the court."
The NSWPL is set to get underway on April 6.