Academy Games gives hope to bright future

The 2015 National Netball Championships wrapped up on the weekend with Netball NSW enjoying a successful outing – our 19/U and 17/U State Teams finished National Champions and Runners-Up, respectively, while our NSW Swifts posted their first win at home for the 2015 ANZ Championship. Amazing!

While we enjoyed our recent successes, we bring you good news that the future of netball in NSW is looking bright if the recent performances at the 2015 ClubsNSW Academy Games are anything to go by.

Held on the Central Coast from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 April, all but one NSW Regional Academy of Sport participated in the two-day netball competition (11-12 April) with the teams divided into two Divisions.

Whilst the concept of Academy Games isn’t about the results, there were many highly entertaining matches played across the weekend… and according to Netball NSW Volunteer Workforce Manager Di Brown shows “the future of NSW netball is looking very bright”.

Brown was on the ground throughout the weekend and said the playing, coaching and umpiring talent on display was “incredibly exciting”.   

“I was really impressed with what I saw at Academy Games,” Brown said.  “If these are the players that are on the pathway to represent NSW at future National Netball Championships, then we can be very excited.

“I witnessed some exciting talent on show – exciting, raw talent – and that is across athletes, coaches and umpires.  Our Academy coaches are helping to mould these athletes into the best they can be, and from what I saw they’re doing a good job.”

Amongst the achievements, the 2015 ClubsNSW Academy Games saw;

  • Three umpires awarded with their National C Badges,
  • Identification of potential National B Badges, who will undergo further assessment at the 2015 nib Hunter Games later this year,
  • Coaches and umpires provided real-time mentoring by Marion van Munster, Rachel Hughes and Kate Thornborough across the two days,
  • Coaches identified to attend Advanced Coaching Accreditation workshop at Netball Central.

For many the Academy Games is the first step in their representative careers, with athletes such as 2014 NSW Swift Maddie Hay and current Australian 19/U squad members Claire O’Brien and Amy Parmenter, being former members of the Sydney Netball Academy.

While the future is unknown for 2015 Academy representatives, Brown said that’s what is most exciting about what’s to come.

“These young players – many only 14 or 15-years-old – are just at the start of their careers; they will have many more ups and downs, many hundreds of hours spent at the gym or at training, before they can start to realise their potential,” Brown said.

“But that’s what it most interesting – there’s so much unknown and as a netball fan first and foremost, that’s what’s really exciting.”

The Regional Academies of Sport (RAS) form an important step in the Netball NSW (NNSW) Athlete Pathway, focusing on athletic development, acquisition of elite skills and the broader concepts of injury prevention, recovery, lifestyle management and education.  In addition, the RAS program forms an important step in the Coach and Umpire Development Pathways.

For more information on Netball NSW’s Regional Academies of Sport and player pathways, please click here.