Hockey. Smithton Hockey Club talents Tomas Coker, Henry Wright and Max Lester will draw on their experiences playing alongside national representatives as the season begins.
Selected to compete at the Australian Indoor Championships in Goulburn, New South Wales earlier this year, Coker has returned with a new perspective on the game while Lester says he gained valuable experience training with the squad as a shadow player.
In the upcoming Australian Championships in Wollongong, New South Wales, Wright will make his second national appearance while Coker has been selected as a shadow player.
Drawing on his experience playing with the Under 13 Tasmanian side at the national championships in Perth, Western Australia two years ago, Wright, 14, is expecting a tougher competition in the Under 15 division this year.
“My focus is to improve on my overall fitness and basic skills,” he says ahead of the tournament.
“Gaining more control over the ball and confidence on the field.”
Coker, 14, made his national debut with the Under 13 state side as goalkeeper two years ago and this year is striving to make the call-up from his train-on position ahead of the April tournament.
Competing at the indoor championships earlier this year, Coker says the transition from an outdoor to an indoor game is challenging and requires quick thinking.
“It’s pretty aggressive,” he says.
“It’s very fast and unpredictable because of the rebounds. I learned quickly not to stand still.”
Taking part in training ahead of the competition, Lester was selected as a shadow player.
“It’s a lot different to outdoor,” he says.
“You need to use your strength to get down lower and you use different tactics, flat stick tackles and low running.”
Lester, 14, says gaining an insight into the differences between indoor and outdoor hockey will improve his tactical thinking ahead of the new playing season.