Kookaburras visit builds team skills

Jackson Lavell-LeeSouth Western Times
Kookaburra Coach Anthony Potter demonstrating a drill to SWAS athletes Raine Fisher, Mikayla Blackham, Sari Wootton and Emma Tinley
Camera IconKookaburra Coach Anthony Potter demonstrating a drill to SWAS athletes Raine Fisher, Mikayla Blackham, Sari Wootton and Emma Tinley Credit: Tracey Elphick

Elite hockey men’s team the Australian Kookaburras visited the South West last week to begin their 2020 Tokyo Olympics campaign.

Head coach Colin Batch was joined by assistants Anthony Potter and Robbie Hammond to provide inside knowledge to the South West Academy of Sport Hockey athletes.

The tour to build camaraderie in the team saw SWAS athletes cook for the Kookaburras on Thursday night and mingle with their idols before a training session with the Australian coaches on Friday and question time on Saturday.

Parents and junior athletes asked Batch and Potter about the development of high performing athletes, what Kookaburras selectors scouted for and the road to Olympics.

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Batch, an expert in developing leadership qualities, said the Kookaburra’s current co-captain system was left to the players to decide who would lead the team, and developed trust.

Potter, a high-performance coach was previously at the helm of Nedlands and Belgium Indoor hockey teams, and is known for his development work with younger talents in helping them take the next step to international hockey.

Australia are the reigning Champions Trophy winners and came third in the World Cup last year but are favourites to take out Olympic gold next year and Potter said playing for the Kookaburras was a way of life.

Each player who wants to represent the Australian team has to move to Perth to train at Perth Hockey Stadium which is the best hockey facility in the Southern hemisphere.

This selfless ethos was something he wanted to pass on to the SWAS athletes.

Bunbury and Districts Hockey Association development officer Sarsha Wetherell said their knowledge and experience was an invaluable lesson the younger athletes.

“We’re very grateful that they decided to visit the South West. They’ve been really generous with their time and they were so humble,” she said.

“It’s important to our academy to learn to give back to the community when you are a high performing athlete. These guys are totally dedicated to sport but also to teammates, coaches, families and communities.”

The Kookaburras will continue their training camp this week before returning to Perth to ramp-up preparation for the Olympics in July.

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