WARRNAMBOOL College is confident its fledgling sports academies will go from strength to strength next year.
The Grafton Road school will next year offer academies for seven sports — football, netball, basketball, cricket, soccer, hockey and open-water swimming.
Sport co-ordinator Adam Dowie said he expected the academies, which started this year, to be increasingly popular among students.
Dowie said about 40 students entering year 7 in 2014 signed up for the football academy at an orientation day this week.
The school will have a sign-up day for existing students going into years 8, 9, 10 and 11 today.
“This year we were trying to get it up and going. Next year is going to be when we get it more established within the school,” Dowie said.
“There will be a bit more substance to it — better organised, better promoted. We’re trying to get it entrenched in the Warrnambool College fabric. When kids come here, the sports academies will be an important part of what we do.”
Dowie said the academies’ first aims were to engage students in the sports and build their skills. He said sessions weren’t timetabled, which meant students could join more than one academy if they wished.
Dowie said the programs involved more than training and competition, which gave students an all-round grounding in the sport.
Football academy members this year visited North Ballarat Rebels’ training facilities and attended a night match at Docklands.
“The good aspect of our academies is we cater for the high-level kids, be it interschool, zone or state competition,” Dowie said.
“But we also cater for kids who might not have as much ability at this stage but they’re interested in doing it.
“For us it’s not about getting flags and trophies. It’s about offering the kids a range of sports they can participate in and enjoy, learn the skills and what’s involved.”