Academies get into Community spirit

We all know the old saying, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’” … and that is none more true than in netball.

That’s why at Netball NSW we are taking inspiration from the phrase when looking to develop our community coaches through the Regional Academy of Sports.

There has been plenty of activity in Academy Land of late; most recently the annual nib Games in which Western Sydney Academy of Sport (WSAS) and Sydney Netball Academy took out Division 1 and Division 2 titles. Read the wrap here.

Not only an opportunity for New South Wales’ most promising emerging elite athletes to test their skills against each other, it also provided Academy coaches the chance to receive real-time mentoring from High Performance coaches, such as NSW Swift Head Coach Rob Wright and Sutherland Shire Head Coach Maria Lynch.

Some of the 2014 NSW Swifts playing group also attended the final day’s play, providing feedback to the teams … as well as signing autographs and taking ‘selfies’ for a memento. In fact this year Netball NSW introduced a NSW Swift Academy Ambassador Program, where each of the 12 ANZ Championship athletes were assigned a special Ambassadorial role with an Academy Netball Squad – attending training sessions and providing one-on-one advice with young aspiring players.

NSW Institute of Sport – Netball Head Coach and former England Head Coach Sue Hawkins has also been on a road trip of sorts, visiting each of the Regional Academy netball squads to take a training session, as well as provide mentoring to Academy coaches.

Hawkins visited all 12 netball squads providing player and coach development, however they weren’t exclusive for those involved with the Academies with coaches from the surrounding community invited to observe.

The former Australian shooter attended WRAS trials earlier this year, where 85 budding netballers aged 14 to 16 years old aimed to secure a spot in the Academy’s 2015 squad. Along with the players, 35 coaches from local Clubs/Associations also attended to observe and gain insight into elite training techniques.

This happened all across the State with grassroots coaches encouraged to attend Academy programs and workshops, which were open to the entire netball community. Introduced in 2014, the new Coach on Court program sees Regional Academy Head Coaches deliver workshops in their local communities, all with the aim of exposing grassroots coaches with development opportunities.

Netball NSW Coach Development & Regional Academy Coordinator Dianne Brown said at the crux of the work being done with Academies is to help develop not just up-and-coming playing talent, but coaching as well.

“For the first time we are really seeing the two sides of coaching overlapping; High Performance and Community Coaching, and that’s really exciting,” Brown said.

“The workshops and mentoring we are delivering with Academies are about exposing community coaches, providing access to the tools they need to develop and grow their contemporary coaching techniques. In turn, this helps develop our NSW playing talent from local netball, all the way up to elite level.

“Through Netball NSW accreditation courses and workshops, and now through the Regional Academy ‘Open Door’ policy, we are seeing an amazing response from the coaching community, especially through our Coach on Court workshops, which will continue into 2015,” concluded Brown.

For 2015 Academy netball trials and open coaching sessions, head to the Regional Academies page on For all coaching information, contact Dianne Brown on (02) 9951 5000 during business hours.