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Chance to Impress for Netball Central Zone’s Youngsters

Chance to Impress for Netball Central Zone’s Talented Youngsters

26 January 2015

The journey to being a New Zealand Secondary School (NZSS) player continued this weekend at a Talent Development Camp held at Te Wananga-O-Raukawa in Otaki for 29 talented young players from Netball Central Zone.

The group took part in the intensive two-day camp which included sessions on attack, defence, movement, game play skills and fitness, as well as special presentations from former All Black and current Assistant Coach of Samoa Alama Ieremia, life-coach Bella Ansell, fitness trainer, Henry Iona, Mojo Pulse Physiotherapist Nikki Lynch and nutritionist Celine Evans. National selectors were also in attendance including NZSS Head Coach Julie Seymour and Assistant Coach Mary-Jane Araroa.

Mojo Pulse Assistant Coach and Netball Central Zone Emerging Talent Manager, Frances Solia, was delighted with the players’ attitude. “I’ve been really impressed with the attitude of these girls,” she said. “Towards the end of the first day, they were really tired and just wanted to go home. It was great to see them picking each other up and encouraging each other in their groups. That’s a really good sign of the culture we’ve got here in our Zone which is pleasing.”

“When they came into this camp they didn’t know what to expect and as they’ve progressed throughout the weekend they developed an understanding about how hard they need to work if they want to be a top athlete,” explained Frances. “They are fortunate to have an opportunity to be seen by the National selectors. The camp was definitely intense but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Having Alama run a mental skills on the first day meant the girls were able to use some of the areas that he talked about, and apply it to themselves throughout the day, especially when at time they may have felt fatigued and/or mentally drained.

“He had some really good keynotes. He spoke about his journey. His father said to him twice that he wasn’t allowed to become an All Black which I thought was a good story to hear because they don’t understand the sacrifices and stress he went through to become the man he is today. My point being is the players realised they’re not the only ones that go through an emotional rollercoaster. It has never been, and never will be, an easy road to the top. There are no short cuts to success. You could see from the look on the players’ faces, they were engaged with Alama”.

“Another key point was what it felt like when he got dropped from the starting 15, his attitude towards that challenge, and how he fought back to secure his position, and the honour of not only performing the haka, but to be given the opportunity to wear the black jersey again.”

Frances has been impressed with the preparation and commitment the girls have undertaken over the holidays. “There has been a massive improvement since October when I started going around the Zone. Their body shapes look different. So that tells me we have a group of players who are self-driven and self-motivated because they have the desire and determination to be a better player – this is something you can’t teach, that comes within”.

Netball Central Zone Selector, Aroha Marsh, has also seen a difference in the players’ fitness over the last few months. “The girls have clearly worked hard in their fitness since October, they appear very focused with some girls having now taken the hard decision to focus on netball above their other sports,” she said.

“I’ve been involved in the Wellington Region talent development programme since it was started eight years ago under the directorship of Waimarama and I’m encouraged by the recent successes of players from the region like Whitney Souness, now at the Mojo Pulse, and Nicola Mackle, now at the Tactix. It’s good to see these former secondary school players playing in the ANZ Championship.

“Since moving in to the Central Zone set-up, it’s exciting to observe the Netball player riches and to think that one or more attending this camp this weekend becoming a Silver Fern in the future. The Zone has a wealth of talent and could potentially produce five secondary school players this season,” Aroha acknowledged.

“It’s been really good and very positive. I am hoping that seven girls are invited to the trials. We didn’t have that last year, but when I look at the product they put out on court this weekend I’m feel confident,” added Frances.

The 2015 NZSS Championships take place in Ashburton in early October.


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