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Developing Netball Champions
14 January 2012

The Developing Champions program got off to a fantastic start to the new year when it held its first workshop of 2012 on Saturday, January 14 with a devoted bunch of netballers.

Members of the under-17 and under-19 state squads were hosted in the Champions Club at Challenge Stadium by Developing Champions presenters Kate Bobridge (Developing Champions co-ordinator and WAIS Athlete Career and Education Training Officer), Kate Gill (Matildas star striker and reigning Asian Football Confederation [AFC] Women’s Player of the Year) and Amber Bradley (dual Olympic rower and personal trainer).

The topics covered with the athletes were, "A Positive Me” and "Mental Skills for Performance”. The athletes’ parents then participated in a workshop of their own, entitled "Supporting My Athlete”.

The first module, "A Positive Me” involved a discussion of the importance of social responsibility (i.e. acting in a moral fashion and contributing to the community), how to create a Personal Brand (i.e. what you stand for and what makes you special) and Making Positive Decisions.

The girls were very lucky to be in the presence of Kate Gill, who is a Goodwill Ambassador for the "AFC’s Asian Football against Hunger” campaign. This is a joint venture aimed at battling hunger and chronic under-nutrition. This gave the audience a first-hand understanding of the impact they - as athletes and role models - can have on their community.

The "Mental Skills for My Performance” module was designed to help athletes understand the impact that a positive mental attitude has on their performance, both on and off the sporting field.

And I think all were in agreeance that while 90 per cent of sporting performance comes down to one’s mental state, athletes typically spend less than 10 per cent of their training time developing these skills.

Studies have proven that - even if athletes are unable to physically train due to injury or sickness – they will still improve their performance if they devote time and energy to mental imagery. Try it!

During the workshop, we asked athletes to think back to the time when they produced their best sporting performance ever. We asked them to remember how they felt at that time by trying to involve all their senses (smells, sights, tastes, sounds, touch). By doing this, athletes give themselves a chance of recognising what helps them perform at their peak, and then working to produce a similar performance in the future.

We also discussed how pre-match and pre-task routines can help give an athlete confidence to perform at their very best.

For example, maybe you like to have the same pre-game meal each time you play because you know it will give you the right amount of energy without weighing you down. Or perhaps you have some positive cue words that you use before taking a shot at goal.

The final segment of the netball workshop, "Supporting My Athlete” was devoted to the parents of the athletes.

The parents and presenters discussed the different roles played by the parents of athletes, including - but not limited to - chef, taxi driver, bank, manager, motivator, counselor, disciplinarian.

Kate Bobridge then helped parents understand the pathway their daughters would follow in order to move up the ladder towards their sporting goals.

We believe it is always important to understand where you (or your daughters) are trying to go so that you can put appropriate plans in place to make sure you arrive there. Knowing the pathway allows you to consider the next step on the journey, consider any challenges and deal with any transitions, before they arrive.

Best of luck to all the netball girls (and their parents) who were involved in the workshop.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of the Developing Champions staff, if you require any assistance throughout your sporting careers.

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