IS a running-heavy December pre-season the key to premiership success?
The jury is still out - but two south-west clubs are bucking the trend.
Warrnambool and District league powerhouse Nirranda, who suffered a one-goal loss in last season's grand final, started post-Christmas for the first time in "two or three" seasons this year.
South Warrnambool, meanwhile, is ditching team running sessions in favour of individual fitness.
The Roosters are focusing their training time on the "mechanics" of netball, according to newly-appointed mentor Leesa Battistello.
We've mixed up our running. It's more specific, short, sharp sort of stuff.Steph Townsend
For Nirranda mentor Steph Townsend, the Blues' extended break has team and coach rejuvenated.
"It's always been nice to see everyone just after the season is done but I think this year with the workload and going so deep into finals, we just wanted to give everyone in the club that extended break," she said.
"As a coach you're not finishing until mid-September and then you're having meetings in October.
"For me personally, it was really refreshing to step away and come back to it after Christmas."
Townsend said her side started with running sessions but turned to ball-work faster than it had previously.
She said individual fitness was paramount to her players.
"I can honestly say just about every player does something outside netball," Townsend told The Standard.
"I can't ask for much more as a coach. I know we can lean into skills a little bit earlier that way because the fitness base is already there."
The Blues' training has evolved in previous seasons. Townsend said interval-based running work was her favoured option.
"We've mixed up our running. It's more specific, short, sharp sort of stuff," she said.
"It's more interval-based work rather than distance running.
"We'll structure training as a bit of fitness on Tuesday night, gameplay and footwork and Thursday will be around skills."
Battistello said South Warrnambool, who started in December, would leave the bulk of fitness work to its players. '
"We do some netball specific fitness at training but so many of the girls are doing F45 or outside gym work to be at their best," she said.
"We're keen to train for one night, but for longer. Our mindset is that it's up to the girls to spend their own time being fit.
"If you're working on your fitness one or two nights it's not going to be up to scratch.
"We're focusing our time on building our club's success culture through team building and working on different structures. We're focusing on the mechanical side of netball."
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