Former NSW State Team Coach and current NSW Swifts’ Head Coach Rob Wright is excited about the prospects of future State Teams, having recently spent time providing specialist coaching to a number of the sides, including the NSW 17/U Development Team.
The 14-player Team was reintroduced this year to provide athletes with the opportunity to continue their growth within a High Performance environment, and it’s a move which has been welcomed by Wright.
“For me, having this 17/U Development Team back in our High Performance Program is exceptionally important and I’m really excited we brought it back,” Wright said.
“If you look at the numbers that try out in that 17/U age group, sometimes 150 to 160 kids which we have to get down to 12, often there are so many talented young players that the next 20 could also be competitive at Nationals.
“This program gives an opportunity for this group of players to get the extra development and support they need to force their way into selection contention next time around.”
“What I hope we will see is the Development Team athletes continue to process throughout this season and go on to be selected in the NSW 17/U or 19/U Teams next year, and that they can see there is a pathway which is important.”
When participating in these training sessions, it was key for Wright to talk with the coaches and assess if there was a theme they wanted him to work on that complemented their existing program.
“When working with the Development Team I will tailor my session to best benefit the group, while exposing them to future expectations,” explained Wright.
“Often athletes at that age don’t quite understand how to train as they should, so our trainings are about working really hard, working consistently and at a high level.
“I believe if you have good skills and work really hard, things will happen. It’s a simple concept, but a concept that we have adopted at the Swifts.
“We want quality, and we want intensity, and they’re the things I really push at the sessions I take with all the State Teams.”
An outcome of Netball NSW’s review of its High Performance Program in 2013 was the need to create a top to bottom Performance Culture that would develop and support sustained success across all Programs.
“For Netball NSW it’s really important for all our teams throughout the entire High Performance Program to adopt consistent themes and philosophies in both training and playing,” conveyed Wright.
“I believe the themes of quality and intensity are absolutely critical to success, not just in netball but any sport. If you have high quality skills and work with real intensity and consistency, you have to be better.
“If our 17s are better that makes our 19s better and our 21s, and it goes all the way up the pathway to the NSW Swifts.
“Then what we are trying to do at the Swifts is develop Diamonds, which is the ultimate for any Australian athlete.”
While the NSW 21/U Team have completed their 2014 campaign, the 17/U and 19/U are contesting the National Netball Championships this week in Melbourne, but already Wright is looking forward to being involved with the State Teams next season.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with all the Teams during their 2014 campaigns as it’s given me an opportunity to build a rapport with the players.
“It’s actually something Kim Green is committed to, she wanted to grow a real connection between the Swifts and all our State sides, and it’s something we have all tried to push this year.
“We saw at the Netball NSW Conference the Swifts players working with the State Teams, and our Swifts coaches in Megan (Anderson) and Anita (Keelan) have also been running sessions with the teams.
“We really love it; we are New South through and through, so we want the best for all our teams and that starts with our Regional Academies, Development Squads, all the way up,” concluded Rob Wright.
The 2014 NSW 17/U Development Team program will culminate in a two game fixture against one of the top secondary school teams in New Zealand, St Margaret’s High School, on Thursday 17 April at the Anne Clark Centre, Lidcombe.