Good to see everyone fully back into the swing of things after the break! We have a few athletes with injuries, and are just wishing them a speedy recovery. It feels like we have already had numerous training sessions during 2018, and even had a couple of matches, which is great. I hope you follow on Twitter as a way of keeping in touch! Just the usual bit of a round up, following on from the more comprehensive update at the beginning of January.
Ambassadors. I am pleased to announce that our three Leeds Rhinos Netball Ambassadors are Jessie Ducker, Erin Hodgkiss and Georgia Pexton, all from the High Performance Academy. All three of these athletes operate at a very high level of netball, and are great role models for the younger athletes, with their work ethic and commitment to the sport and their team mates. All three athletes are in the Loughborough Lightning U21 Squad, and Georgia is also in the Roses Academy U19 Squad and was Vice Captain of England U17 last year at Netball Europe. Georgia and Jessie have both been national schools champions. Erin has toured New Zealand with her school squad. You will see images of these athletes and see them at events helping out or coaching the younger athletes. In future, you may also see them with additional bits of kit so that they can show others what is available. We are still waiting for final confirmation to be able to announce our Leeds Rhinos Ambassador, which has taken a lot longer than planned! We hope the Rugby Ambassador, once announced, will get to meet all the Academy athletes. Here is an image of the ambassadors.
Performance I covered Maggie and Gerry’s sessions last week and the High Performance Academy session, so I had the opportunity to see how most of the Academy athletes are progressing, which was great. I am pleased that Maggie, Gerry and Jan are doing a great job working on the programme of skills that we agree on as a coaching team. It looks as though the athletes are mostly working at a good level of intensity and therefore will be getting lots out of the programme being offered. High Performance Academy have had a lot of “wrap around” off court aspects to the programme, with U15 having some. U15 and U13s will have Psychology and Nutrition sessions soon, classroom based, on a Monday night before/after training, Debs will confirm the dates and times soon.
Matchplay We have another match for U15 and High Performance Academies, a three way game against Pulse and Wasps in London mid-February. Selections will be made soon, so please remember to support your athletes whatever the outcome of selection or experience on the day. We are lucky to have experienced selectors on our coaching team, with me as a National Academy selector and Maggie as a Roses selector. Gerry and Jan also have good experience of selecting at the highest standard. It is good that we have been working with the athletes for a few months now, so we have been able to see them over a longer period.
Kit. As you know, we have continued to have a few issues with kit. We will be issuing a refund for the training shorts this week. Lisa will have High Performance Academy refunds and Debs has done most of the U13 and U15. We apologise for the inconvenience caused, but it has got too late in the season to source an alternative. We are looking at an alternative for next season. The “small size” kit order has finally arrived and will be distributed this week. Although the kit man had said that delivery would be more like 6 weeks, even now orders are taking longer than that. We continue to work with him to deliver improvements to quality and timeliness.
Other opportunities We have other high quality coaching opportunities coming up for these talented athletes to experience.
I am running a 10-3pm masterclass on 16 February, where I will be working with the athletes personally on their technique on key aspects of the game and we expect the standard to be high.
We are almost ready to announce our Boot Camp for the summer, in August, where again, the standard will be high and the quality of coaching will be excellent. I would expect that a lot of Academy athletes will want to take part in this, timed perfectly for “pre-season”, before trials and with a residential option that is always great experience. These are opportunities where the athletes can gain hints and tips that help athletes make progress to complement their existing activity.
We are also running a series of position specific Prestige Workshops for U13 athletes, with great coaches, to offer that intensity of learning new techniques to the younger athletes. All these are on our website. Pass them onto others who you know would be interested, especially for those who aren’t on social media!
We will soon be advertising our next festival, which will contain a range of activities for Hub and Academy athletes.
In another exciting development, we are partnering with Leeds City College to provide netballing opportunities alongside studies at the College in line with other sports such as football and rugby, where the athletes will get wrap around S&C and matchplay etc. The open day is in the Leeds Half Term. Here is an image of the flier.
I hope you have been watching the Quad series and are looking forward to watching the NSL competition and the athletes learning as much as they can from elite athletes.
#netballontherise #thisgirlcan #ANewEraBegins
Director of Leeds Rhinos Netball