FORMER Melbourne Vixen Sarah Wall has helped keep the netball dreams of more than 30 teenage aspirants alive.
Wall will today announce the names of 36 juniors who will make up the inaugural Jeanieboy Dream Catchers Netball Academy.
The former Camperdown midcourter said she had been “blown away” by the response since she called for applications last month.
She said interest in the academy — from Portland to Timboon and up to Caramut — had prompted her to grow it from 21 to 36 netballers for its first year.
“The first year I was presuming it would be quite small and wouldn’t have got the huge response it did,” she said.
The Jeanieboy Dream Catchers Netball Academy will feature Wall and academy coach Kate Burt leading a series of sessions in October and November.
The sessions aim to give participants an insight into how they can reach their potential in the sport and ways to progress to top-level competitions.
Applicants had to write to Wall about their dreams, and provide a letter of support from a family member, coach or mentor.
“The whole idea of the academy is it’s not only about netball, it’s the mind, body and soul parts that come with it,” Wall said.
“And also no matter what level the girls reach they can use this to maximise the potential they have.”
“I was a bit of a late developer with my netball — I didn’t play with Victoria until I was 16.
“It is so important for that age group that they realise they don’t have to be superstars right now, it’s all about how focused they can be.”
“That’s one of the messages I want to carry through.”
The academy starts on October 11 at 4pm, and will feature a discussion about the “mind” -— goal setting and developing confidence — as well as skill drills.
Wall has invited parents and supporters to join her on the day as she and Burt present the participants to the community.
Other sessions cover the body (healthy eating and fitness) and the soul (overcoming adversity) while a “celebration day” will be in mid-November.
“A great part of this is we’ll keep in contact with the girls all through next season,” she said.
“They’ll have Katie Burt if they need extra coaching or help with anything.”