ATHLETES in the NIAS netball squad endured their first test of 2013 on Sunday when both new and old players hit the court in Tamworth.
It was the first training session for this year’s squad and the first chance to impress the coaches ahead of the Academy Games in April.
It included plenty of netball-specific drills but also sprint training.
“This is our first training session of the new year so only the second meeting,” head coach Kirsty Fuller said.
“They’ve been doing sprint training with Peter Annis-Brown.
“It’s about teaching them good techniques that they can use at home in their training.
“It’s more pre-season stuff.”
The focus of the program throughout the year is to improve the skills of the players but in the next two months it is also about preparing for competition.
“We’re working on footwork and passing,” Fuller said. “They’re the two main necessities in netball.
“They should be good at it by the time they get to this age.
“We also have the Academy Games coming up in Wollongong and I will probably pick 10 for that so they’re vying for places in that team as well.”
Players from the tier one squad are in the running for places in that team.
They are players who have been in the squad for at least one previous year.
There is also a tier two squad for younger players.
“It’s more development for them and letting them know about the expectations at NIAS,” Fuller said.
Of all the sports in NIAS, none is more representative of the region.
The netball program draws its athletes from all of the major towns around the northern inland area.
“We’ve got a lot from Inverell at the moment,” Fuller said.
“But there’s also Armidale, Glen Innes, Tamworth, Narrabri, Gunnedah and even Baradine, so there’s a big range.”
The squad will come together for training periodically throughout the year and at different venues around the region.