News & Events

An interview with Steve Hooker 

News & Events / An interview with Steve Hooker 

Last month, Good Sports held a webinar ‘An interview with Steve Hooker’. During the event, Steve discussed his experience with sports and the importance of athletics for communities. 

Steve Hooker is a pole vaulter who grew up in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. In his younger years, he played footy in winter and athletics in summer.  

During his athletics career, he won gold in Beijing and set a new Olympic record. Steve was the first Australian gold medalist in 40 years. He also won gold in Berlin, was awarded Medal of the Order of Australia and was inducted into Australian Hall of Fame. 

Currently, he is the CEO of property developing company. 

Getting your head in the game 

During the webinar, Steve discussed the mental challenges that come along with sport. In 2004 he was struggling. He managed to get over a lot of mental issues with hard work. 

For me it was a fear factor. There is a moment in every jump where you have to commit to taking off. You run in and there is a moment you have to jump off the ground and hold onto the pole. In that moment I would let go and run through to the mat. I was dealing with this issue on and off for two years,” explained Steve.  

To deal with it, he got back to basicsHe trained the technical fundamentals. Steve advised others in the same position to practice drills and then start making it harder.  

Once you move from something that is negative, the good feelings start coming back,” he said. 

The importance of sports clubs for Steve Hooker

One of the best parts of sport for Steve was being part of the club. Training in groups, having best mates and going on end of season trips. That was Steve’s social network and he was also inspired by his coaches. 

I had a great athletics coach, who was super passionate,” said Steve. 

I’m a fairly driven person and I had a vision of what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t want to take the normal route. 

Being an inspiration for his own family is now a large driving factor for Steve. He wants to support his own children in any way that he can, like the role models in his life supported him. 

That’s all I want to do for my kids – if they want to pole vault or anything else, I’ll support that. I’ll try to find them the right people to have around them. We’ll find a good club environment so it’s a positive experience for them,” explained Steve.  

The philosophy of the club is another important factor for Steve and his family when choosing where they will place their kids. Sports clubs shape who children are as people. It’s a big responsibility. Having a club that brings people together is very important for a community sporting club.   

Coming together during COVID-19 

“It’s long and frustrating and challenging. But I’ve been lucky – I have three kids including a 10-month-old and now I get to have time with him,” reflected Steve. 

Steve used the approach of challenging himself over a period of a few weeks to tick achievements off his list. This turned the countdown into something positive, rather than dreading the time left. He also made sure to have some social time, walking with friends in his five kilometre radius. 

There are obviously challenges for sporting clubs opening up back across the country, such as new hygiene practices to keep everyone safe. But Steve believes that adversity leads to opportunity. He believes that sporting clubs are important. They give people a place to belong, especially young people. 

“It’s going to be hard – you will have volunteers wanting to come down and help even if they can’t at the timeIt’s going to take people power and organisation [to get clubs back on their feet],” he said.  

Thank you to everyone looking after clubs and looking after the kids that are progressing through sport. It’s going to be a tough 12 months ahead… but it will be worth it once everything is back up and running. 

 

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