ALTERATIONS to Netball Victoria’s junior pathway program are expected to benefit regional-based players.
Western Region state titles manager Marg Morgan said the talent academy – formerly the zone academy – was designed with country netballers in mind.
The program, which will hold trials in Ballarat on Saturday for the 2019 intake, will also have two age groups.
One will cater for 15-16 year olds and a second 17-19 year olds.
Morgan said the older age group was a key inclusion and honed in on “the total holistic development of the athlete”.
“I think there’s lots of positives in it, especially the next tier to it, making it look more like a realistic pathway to what the Victorian Netball League world and other stages of the pathway look like,” she said.
“In our local areas, they get the opportunities in senior netball but if they were looking for a VNL club or even to continue on to make state under 19 teams, there was no pocket to fit into for them.
“In the metro area it certainly fits well for them because they have all those different tiers.”
Netball Victoria high performance operations manager Hayley VanDenBoom said the rebranded and restructured academy would cater for country-based players better with less training sessions but two Melbourne development camps.
“Throughout 2018, the high performance team at Netball Vic undertook a statewide review of the zone academy program – looking at what hurdles might have been in the program, how it was running and what outcomes they were getting out of it,” she said.
“I guess the main hurdle for people wanting to be part of it was fitting it into their busy netball and life calendars with the number of sessions.”
Netball Victoria picks its talent academy students via the association championships in May and June and state titles in October.
VanDenBoom said the 17-19 age group would give players a clear direction on how to make the VNL and, if they desired, the Australian Netball League.