University of Johannesburg men’s hockey captain Gareth Heyns has named a consistent drive for improvement as the reason for their Varsity Hockey success this year.
Under the guidance of coach Garreth Ewing and Heyns, UJ kept the title in the biennial event after defeating Tuks in an exciting final at the Johannesburg campus last month.
Heyns said the triumph came down to an overall team effort.
“I can’t identify any particular players,” said Heyns.
“It was due to efforts from the performance staff, coaches, everybody involved with the squad.
The 24-year-old national player said the squad now needed to focus on further development of their game.
“We are in the process of rebuilding and we have a few new guys in our system.
“I think going forward we need to focus on refining our game.”
Heyns, who is currently studying towards his master’s degree in marketing, said there would always be ups and downs and that it was unrealistic to think one could never lose.
“Nobody wants to lose but I think if and when we encounter that situation we will need to be humble and mature and use it as a stepping stone.”
As the defending champions, he said the boys had been nervous before the tournament.
“We attempted to deflect the pressure by focusing on the competition as a new event and not one in which we were trying to defend our title.
“We are a new team, in the process of building something new for the future, and we decided the approach should be to try and win another title instead of defending one.”
Heyns paid tribute to Ewing’s role, valuing his honest approach and the team environment he created.
“Springer, as we like to call him, was extremely important to our success. He is professional in the way that he approaches games and is straightforward as to how we are performing.”