Expert runs rule over NIAS netball squads

THE NIAS Carlos IGA/Armidale City Bowling Club netball squads – and coaches – got to tap into the expertise of one of the best brains in the business on the weekend.

Former Australian representative and England coach, and NSWIS head coach Sue Hawkins, came up to work with the NIAS and Hunter Academy squads.

The two squads coming together was a new thing for the program this year. 

“It’s the first time we’ve ever done it between us and Hunter,” head coach Kirstie Fuller said.

“We thought we’d introduce it and try to make it an annual event.” 

She said having Hawkins’s services for the weekend was great.

“It’s amazing. She’s got so much experience,” Fuller said.

As well as helping the girls, Hawkins also mentored the coaches from the two academies over the weekend and provided feedback on how they can improve.

The weekend camp was the squads’ third training session for the program.

Both days after skills and drills – which covered everything from basics like footwork and ballwork to full court work and game strategies – they finished off with games.

They were just as invaluable.

“Before, the only thing we had like it was when we go to our competitions,” Fuller said.

It was good to have someone else to gauge themselves against. 

“Hunter are really successful,” she said. “We want to try to use them as a bit of a mentor academy.”

Fuller said the squads were coming along pretty well.

“The tier 1 squad we’ve brought a few through from last year,” she said.

She said it was good to see them working with the Hunter girls and having to step up.

“They’re only used to playing each other,” she said.

The main competition for them is the Academy Games.

They’ll meet two more times before then. The last session will double as a selection trial for the side to compete at the Games.

“This is a mini prep for that as well,” Fuller said.

“It’s really good to see where they’re at.”

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