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School's in for academy netballers

New coach Tracey Brereton and her assistant coaches put the North East Zone Academy players through their first training session at the weekend.

HANNAH DRISCOLL March 26, 2014 4:10am

There were a few nerves in the room ahead of the first North East Zone Academy training session, and not just from the players.

It was the first session for new head coach Tracey Brereton, fresh off her time as assistant coach with the Victorian 21-and-under team, but she said she had good support around her in assistant coaches Robyn Smith and Shepparton midcourter Jacinta Todd.

Todd this year is apprentice coach for the Victorian 17-and-under team.

‘‘Jacinta wasn’t there on the weekend as she had state training, but I couldn’t be in better hands having people like those beside me, especially the experience of Robyn Smith,’’ Brereton said.

During Sunday’s three-hour session at Benalla, Brereton said the group had a decent warm-up before going through some basic foundation skills, one-on-one defence, front cuts, fitness and structures.

The zone academy this year will include seven on-court sessions and three off-court sessions, covering topics such as conditioning and nutrition, which will be held in Melbourne.

The final target is the Inter-Academy weekend in October, where players will be identified for 17-and-under state squad selections.

‘‘I guess the main thing on the first session is really putting out there number one what is zone academy, the great elite opportunity it offers them, and number two using the opportunity that they’ve got,’’ Brereton said. ‘‘My expectations as a coach is when we’re at zone academy we work really hard and we’re there to try and develop yourself.

‘‘There is a group of athletes that are picked, but it is quite an individual thing as such. It’s about improving the individual each week because you don’t play every weekend.

‘‘It’s more an individual focus as such to help the individual build their skill level up, so come our zone academy intra-academy weekend against all the other zones they can showcase their skills.’’

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