Powerchair Sports Victoria recently caught up with Shaun Mott from South Melbourne and Melbourne Hunters Powerchair Teams.
PSV: Welcome Shaun, thank you for giving us some time to have a bit of a chat. Tell us a little about yourself?
Shaun: My pleasure. I’m 23 and I am an absolute sport fanatic. I am currently in my 3rd year studying accounting at RMIT University. In my spare time I like to hang out with friends, play games and watch/play all kinds of sport. In particular I’ve been watching AFL and cricket since I can remember. I’ve been playing Powerchair sports for just over 4 years now.
PSV: Life has been challenging the last couple of months with COVID-19, how have you been coping?
Shaun: It’s been a bit of a challenge. I have really missed hanging out with friends and have missed my sport, particularly cheering on my beloved bombers in the AFL. I have found that it has got a bit easier as the weeks have gone on. I have started catching up with friends over zoom, kept myself busy with uni and work and have been watching old footy games.
PSV: We had to cancel our last few rounds in March and it’s nearly been two months since then, what are you missing most about powerchair sports? Do you think the downtime will affect your ability once the season starts up again?
Shaun: Probably just simply getting out there and playing. Not being able to get my competitive juices flowing has been hard and my Sundays just don’t feel the same without sport. I would like to think it wouldn’t affect my ability much. I have been trying to watch old Powerchair Hockey and Football videos just to keep it fresh in my mind and even learn a few things from top players.
PSV: We know your incredible journey so far, you came in and coaches knew straight away that you were a rising star, you have since taken that next step but how did it actually start for you? How did you find out about powerchair sports?
Shaun: I think late 2014 was my first involvement with powerchair sports. I was in the process of getting my first powerchair when my mum had found PSV on Facebook and was in a group that had it advertised and there was an open day in late December. I wasn’t sure what to expect but really enjoyed the day and I guess I was hooked from that point. My main focus in 2015 was VCE before returning to PSV in January 2016. Really, my mum deserves the credit for finding it then convincing me to have a go.
PSV: Since you first started competing, have you noticed any changes in your life that have come directly from playing powerchair sports?
Shaun: One thing I’ve noticed is that my confidence has grown enormously since joining. I was always a shy person growing up and would always let others take control. But being a part of a sporting club and organisation, brought me out of my shell and I have certainly become more confident. It’s forced me to become more of a leader whilst also giving me motivation to get better, not just at sport but other things in life.
PSV: Some people may already know this but you represented Australia at the Powerchair Hockey World Championships in 2018, what was that experience like?
Shaun: It was an incredible experience, being able to represent my country considering I didn’t think I’d be able to play sport at all 6 years ago. Unfortunately the results didn’t fall our way but we learnt so much from the top countries with years of experience. It was tough physically but also very rewarding. A personal highlight of mine was scoring a goal against Denmark, a moment I’ll never forget.
PSV: Do you aspire to make the next team for the World Championships in a couple of years’ time? Is that your biggest goal coming up or have you got something else you’re striving for?
Shaun: Making the next team is definitely a goal of mine, and then another goal would be to be a part of an Australian team that tastes victory. Not getting a win in the previous world championships is a key motivational factor in regards to the next tournament. I am also striving to become better at Powerchair Football and to help South Melbourne and Victoria reach our potential.
PSV: You’re the captain of the South Melbourne Powerchair Football Team, the team had a challenging club championship in January, how do you as captain plan to get the team in a better position for next year?
Shaun: Unfortunately it was a disappointing week, things didn’t quite work out the way we would have liked. However, it was an opportunity for us to learn and move forward to improve. We had a discussion after the week about what could have been done better on and off the court. A couple of ways for us to improve include more discipline, clearer communication and more team meetings.
PSV: We have players that like one or both sports, you strive in both but which sport are you more focused on now?
Shaun: This answer changes from time to time but I think at the moment Powerchair Football is a bigger focus for me right now. I believe I’ve got room to grow and I want to push myself as far as I can. Although I also want to keep improving at hockey.
PSV: PSV has steadily increased participation in both sports over the past couple of years, where do you hope the league will be in a couple more years time?
Shaun: I would love to have a competition with more teams, a dedicated junior program. Would love to see players competing for spots on teams and have juniors pushing through the ranks. Being on par with some of the other states with their quality of competition is something I think we should be striving for, and is something we have started to work on.
PSV: Thanks for spending some time with us, we have one final question, you’re trying to recruit new players for your powerchair football and hockey clubs, why should people give it a shot?
Shaun: It was easily the best decision I made joining PSV. It’s a perfect way for people like myself to be apart of a sporting community and team. It is also a great way to make friends, improve life skills and you meet some amazing people along the way. If you love sport then this is definitely something for you.