After a breakout season in 2019, Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Cara Koenen refuses to take her foot off the accelerator.
Formally returning to the gym with the majority of her teammates this week, the 23-year-old has a steely focus on building size and strength to compete against bigger bodied opponents next season.
“I had a really good pre-season last year, so I’m just building on that,” Koenen said.
“I want to get a really good base work in the gym, I want to get nice and strong, so I can stand my ground against those bigger defenders.
“And just getting to the post and doing my shooting, so when those first games hit I will be cool and collected under pressure and will be able to take shots from everywhere.”
Increased game time in 2019 saw Koenen repeatedly holding her own against stronger, more experienced defenders, taking to the court in all bar two games across Goal Shooter and Goal Attack.
Whether combining with Steph Wood to create a moving circle or providing a tall target alongside Peace Proscovia, Koenen has a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips both at training and in games.
But it’s not only her fellow shooters that she looks to to mould her game style.
“We’ve got such a talented group and everyone brings very individual attributes, and that is a massive strength of the group,” she said.
“Peace and Steph being shooters, I draw on aspects of their game to implement myself.
“But I’m also looking at our defenders, we’ve got world class defenders in Karla [Pretorius] and Phumza [Maweni] and I think they’ve proven that they are a force to be reckoned with.
“To improve my defensive game, I obviously watch those two and secretly take notes as I go.”
Continuing to build on that versatility will only see the shooter improve leading into 2020.