QUEENSLAND under-18 goalkeeping prospect Kyah Andrew-Sharrad is doing everything he can to enhance his representative goals.
With supportive dad Mark blasting balls at him in practice, he's well on his way to higher honours.
Pine Mountain-based Kyah and Mark have been using the Ipswich Hockey Association's recently acquired ball machine.
Mark has been helping his son sharpen up his skills for a busy season ahead.
Kyah, who turns 17 today , is in the state under-18 squad. He hopes to secure a spot on the Queensland team to contest the Australian titles in NSW later this year.
Kyah is also lining up again for Norths A-grade in the Ipswich competition, having joined Brisbane club Commercial as a dual-registered player.
Mark, set to play A-grade for Wests this season, has been doing the extra sessions with Kyah at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. He's been using the German-made ball machine where Mark loads and fires "missiles" at Kyah.
"The machine will go a lot quicker than anyone can hit a ball,'' Mark said.
"It pretty much opens everything up that you can do for getting a keeper to actually move around - to do low range stuff, mid-range and high corner stuff.
"It's a very useful tool.''
Being an A-grade goalkeeper, Mark understands how the machine can assist Kyah guarding the net.
"At the start of a season, it gets his agility going, his reflex actions,'' Mark said. "And just familiarise himself with the ball coming at him.
"We just target specific areas, like we do drag flicks for corners. We'll do rebound simulations.''
Kyah said the regular sessions were terrific.
"It helps getting my feet moving a bit better since the off-season,'' the promising goalie said.
"They (the balls) get up to a fair click. It's good.''
Kyah has trials next month where he hopes to make the state under-18 side for the first time.
The Ipswich State High Year 12 student has previously made under-15 and under-16 Queensland teams at club and school level.
Having played for Norths in last year's nail-biting extra-time A-grade premiership victory, Kyah is eager to further his hockey career in his first full season with Commercial. The Ipswich teenager has been working under the guidance of representative goalkeeper Andrew Greene.
"Hopefully I can make the 18s team and hopefully from that, step up and hopefully look for an Australian team at the Olympics,'' he said. "Maybe one day, be with the big boys.''
Kyah played first grade for Commercial in last weekend's opening round of the TigerTurf pre-season competition at Carina.
He has played senior hockey since he was 13.
"There's still things he needs to work on and that's what we are trying to get done,'' Mark said.
Ipswich hockey's ball machine is helping with that.
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