Four-time Olympian Mark Knowles with Seb Sky, 11, and Campbell Byrne, 11, at his holiday hockey skills clinic at the Sunshine Coast Hockey Association grounds. Photo: Tom Threadingham
Four-time Olympian Mark Knowles with Seb Sky, 11, and Campbell Byrne, 11, at his holiday hockey skills clinic at the Sunshine Coast Hockey Association grounds. Photo: Tom Threadingham

Hockey star offers timely advice to Coast youth

With hockey returning to fields this weekend, four-time Olympian Mark Knowles says he relished the chance to impart some timely advice and tips to Sunshine Coast youth.

The 36-year-old returned to the region on Wednesday to host his fourth skills clinic at the Sunshine Coast Hockey Association’s Ballinger Road complex.

With fixtures returning to fields on Saturday for the first time following the COVID-19 shutdown, Knowles said participants had leapt at the chance for a skills refresher.

“The clinic sold out in the first four days and then last Friday, when restrictions eased, I opened them back up because I could have more players,” he said.

“Everybody said they felt like they needed just a bit of skill development work before they started and I thought why not?”

Four-time Olympian Mark Knowles hosted a holiday hockey skills clinic at the Sunshine Coast Hockey Association grounds on Thursday. Photo: Tom Threadingham
Four-time Olympian Mark Knowles hosted a holiday hockey skills clinic at the Sunshine Coast Hockey Association grounds on Thursday. Photo: Tom Threadingham

Knowles, who enjoyed an epic 15-year international career with the Kookaburras, hosted two sessions involving a total of 40 youths, with children from nine up to 16 hitting the field.

Along with skills and drills, the four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist also sat down for a Q&A session following training.

His prized medals were on show, with Knowles also making the time for photos with players too.

Sunshine Coast Hockey president Scott Brennan said it was great to see Knowles, the 2018 Commonwealth Games flag bearer, back in the region hosting his clinic.

“What he can teach kids is more than just hockey,” he said.

“It’s just his mannerisms and you can see the way he talks to the kids that it teaches them more than just the skills of hockey, it’s just general life stuff as well, which is good.”