Being played at Perth’s State Netball Centre from Monday 11 April to Saturday 16 April, for many of the athletes selected these national titles are their first exposure to the Netball Australia’s High Performance Pathway.
For those athletes that are returning for their second – or potentially third or more – appearance in state colors, they’ll have a greater understanding about how to look after themselves throughout the week to ensure they’re still able to perform at peak performance come finals day.
Netball Australia’s Performance Support Manager LAURA JULIFF, pictured, has provided some expert advice to help guide these athletes through what’s a demanding – but rewarding – week of high-quality competition.
The state and territory coaches and support staff have been working diligently for months to ensure all the athletes in their squads are physically, mentally and tactically prepared for the rigors of tournament-style competition.
The teams are more prepared than ever before with great amounts of knowledge and new training practices – in particular load management – evolving in the world of sport science. This is critical for a tournament of this kind as we need to ensure the athletes are prepared to play at these high loads of back-to-back games.
REST AND RECOVERY
It is vital plans are in place to limit physiological and mental fatigue, which will accumulate over the duration of the tournament., Come finals time we need to ensure players are as fresh as possible.
The two main recovery focuses will be around nutrition and sleep. Athletes need to carefully consider the timings of their meals, what food they use to refuel and ensure they maintain their hydration.
Sleep is the No.1 recovery strategy available to an athlete due to its ability to enable them to regenerate and recover overnight – both physically and mentally – to wake fresh and ready to hit the court the following day.
Ice baths, compression and massage will also play its part in ensuring an athlete’s body remains fresh and returns the players body back to pre-exercise state as soon as possible to eliminate any soreness, inflammation and promote lactic acid removal.
Remember where you are – you’re one of the best players in your age group Australia-wide. It’s a fantastic learning experience to gain insight into the behaviors expected of a high performance athlete in Netball Australia’s Pathway.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get advice from your teammates and coaches to help you perform your role. Remember, they are there to help you perform and excel.
Being selected to represent your state in any sport is a tremendous honor and privilege. Remember those athletes who have gone before you in those colours and where they are now.
You’ve done all the work leading in, now it’s time to put everything you’ve learnt into practice. Good luck!