Busch looks to push past comfort zone

WINNING a club best and fairest ahead of eventual AFLW draftees and the competition leading goalkicker, as a bottom-ager, is no mean feat. That is exactly what Mia Busch did for the Eastern Ranges in 2021, but the hard-running defender is used to punching above her weight.

Starting out her footballing journey in an Under 15 side at age 11, the now 17-year-old’s eagerness to push the limits seeps through to her current standards. Busch recently broke the all-time NAB League preseason yo-yo test score, and is looking to test herself on-field with a wealth of work off it.

“I just wanted to push myself until failure,” Busch said at preseason testing. “I’d heard a couple of whispers of someone getting to 17.5, so straight away that was my goal and I wanted to try and exceed that. I just missed out on 18 so there’s always room for improvement.

“I had a couple of games in midfield last year but one of my main goals for 2022 is to work on my versatility. “I’m going to push up into the midfield, have a go in there to test myself and push myself outside of my comfort zone to try and broaden that versatility.

“I’ve been doing a bit of midfield work at training already to try and learn off a lot of girls who I really look up to in that kind of area.

“I’m going to work on my aerial game as well, just contesting at the ball… and also my left-foot kicks, when I’m pushed onto my left side to get that distance and my accuracy to hit up players down the field.”

Busch was a favourite among her fellow Vic Metro talent hub members and it is easy to see why. An ultimate professional and bright personality, her work rate has also been lauded by Eastern Ranges coach Travis Cloke

“Mia is a terrific young girl, self-driven, a fantastic athlete,” Cloke said. “I probably haven’t seen many young girls work as hard as her on the track, (it’s) great to see her get the reward… From reports she dominated the training at (Vic Metro) camp, and so far had a really solid preseason.”

Working towards individual success is all well and good, but football is a team game and Busch brings a collaborative energy to those environments. Having built “trusting relationships” with her teammates and sought out key learnings from coaches, the youngster’s constant pursuit of improvement is made easier.

“I absolutely love (the Ranges),” Busch said. “All of us girls, we’ve become so close and I’ve met some of my best friends there so it’s a great environment to be in.

“Learning off all the coaches is a great source for knowledge and we have really great performance enhancement coaches as well who’ve really helped me with the yo-yo test and everything like that.

“We recently went on (Vic Metro) camp which was amazing, all the coaches were incredible. “It was a great experience and a highlight of my career being invited to that. “Learning off Tarkyn (Lockyer) was amazing as well so I’ve loved it and all the girls are so nice.

“It’s good learning off some better players and testing yourselves at training because the level is just something else.”

With plenty of groundwork put in place over the last couple of months, Busch is “very keen” for the season to start. Her Ranges get underway in 2022 on Saturday morning in a clash with the Calder Cannons at Kilsyth Recreation Reserve.

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