For Narellan Vale's Abbey Finlay, Spring usually means one thing: netball.
It is also the time South West Sydney Academy of Sport's netball squad heads to the country to compete in the Regional Academy Challenge
But instead Finlay has swapped the netball for a laptop for weekly online training and support sessions. Sprinting, quick change of direction and passing drills are being completed in her cleared-out garage. SWSAS have also organised online nutrition sessions for its athletes and recently hosted a cooking workshop led by Sydney West Sports Medicine and Parramatta Eels dietitian Kelsey Hutton.
"It was great to get some new ideas and learn more about the importance of nutrition as an athlete," said Finlay, who added her favourite recipe from the workshop was the burrito bowl.
"The Academy has helped me during lockdown, by organising online 'Zoom sports education meetings' for nutrition, and a mental health 'check in with the chap[lain]' which have been really beneficial.
"The Academy has provided me with much more knowledge on not just the skills of playing netball, but the behind the scenes work like recovery and leadership. I am really looking forward to getting back to netball and catching up with friends when we can all get back into it."
On top of learning about the nutrition requirements and options to help boost athletic performance, Finlay - and her fellow netball athletes - have also been taking part in Netball NSW's online Netfit Academy Challenge. Finlay won the Academy's Netball program Coaches Award for 2021 which was presented during an online presentation in late August.
"Our squad has also been doing weekly online meetings in small groups where we do strength and conditioning, well-being talks, and our coaches have been giving us challenges to keep us all connected during lockdown," she said.
The academy is hopeful that nominations for all of its 2022 sport programs will be able to be released in early October with trials anticipated to take place in late November.
- Details: swsas.org.au, 4627 7622.