THE Northern Inland Academy of Sport’s new intake of future Kookaburras and Hockeyroos will knuckle down to training this weekend.
After last Saturday’s induction, the Wests’ boys and girls hockey squads will meet for their first training session in Armidale tomorrow.
It will be the first of two sessions before Christmas and one of an increased number this year.
The structure of the program has had a few tweaks, with coaches opting for shorter and sharper.
“We’ll be doing four-hour sessions instead of whole days,” boys’ head coach Greg Doolan said.
That will allow them to train with more intensity.
This year the two squads will also cross over in training more and there’ll be a lot more specific work for the goalkeepers, of which there are five across the two squads.
“We’re hoping to work a lot closer together and work more on specific skills, not just as boys and girls,” Doolan said.
He has a squad of 17 to work with, rather than the usual 16.
“We have three goalkeepers,” he said.
“We thought that goalkeeping is a position that needs work.
“We wanted to take all, try and grow our goalkeeping base.”
Tamworth’s Darcy Doyle and Will Haywood, and Armidale’s Will Brissett are the three keepers.
They’re part of a “talented squad” and one that will be well-serviced from a coaching perspective.
“We have a very good calibre of coaching staff this year,” Doolan said.
He plans to utilise manager Blair Chalmers as a coach as well.
Chalmers recently coached the NSW U15 girls’ development side, and has also coached country sides.
With Tim Hardy as assistant coach and girls’ head coach Andrew Farmilo, it’s a knowledgeable and diverse team.
NIAS female athlete of the year Brittany Parker has come on board as a trainee coach of the girls’ squad, which contains a lot of new faces.
“It’s a very young squad. There’s only about five backing up from last year,” Farmilo said.
“But there’s a lot of talent there.”
But a lot of improvement in them too, which is what the program is about.
Tomorrow’s session will run from 8am-noon. They’ll then meet again on December 22, with Hockeyroo and former NIAS squad member Kate Jenner coming to help out.