Next generation of SA netball stars compete

South Australia’s next generation of netball stars will converge on Priceline Stadium for the 2018 Mellor Olsson Academy Games held next week from October 2-4.

The Mellor Olsson Academy Games culminates the national ‘Dare to Develop a Diamond Academy Program’, by showcasing the skills the athletes have learnt throughout the pre-elite program.

In South Australia, there are eight regional academies and one metropolitan, which all compete at the Academy Games.

Netball SA’s Coaching and Officiating Manager Roz Fraser said the program is integral in netballers progressing through the National Pathways and to the elite levels, with Adelaide Thunderbirds players Sasha Glasgow and Hannah Petty previous academy players.

“The program aims to assist the state’s best netballers aged 14 to 16 as they progress through the National Pathways by focusing on athletic development, acquisition of elite skills and the broader concepts of recovery, injury prevention, lifestyle management and education,” she said.

“The acquisition of these skills and knowledge is paramount for the athletes as they move into being selected for underage state teams, the Southern Force and with the aim the Adelaide Thunderbirds.”

Academy players are selected through open trials that take place in February and March each year when a squad of between 20 to 40 players is selected.

The squad trains once a month, following the skills, fitness and netball theory program. From this all players are selected for one of the three divisions to participate in the Academy Games.

On the National Player Pathway, the Academy Program sits above the Association Representative Teams and just below the 17U State Team. More than 250 athletes will compete at the Mellor Olsson Academy Games.