Using the Athlete Lifecycle at its foundation, the South West Sydney Academy of Sport has grouped the desired components and elements of the NSW Office of Sport FTEM model into the five areas of a South West Sydney Academy of Sport Athlete’s lifecycle to provide a sport program framework.
These five areas are;
- Individual Skill Development
- Targeted Sports Education
- Sports Science / Strength and Conditioning
- Performance Opportunities
- Wellbeing and Support Services
The level of detail provided in the framework provides the leaders of our sport programs, our coach and support staff, a clear structural framework to develop and implement their sport program outlines.
Included within the framework are targeted topics and key focus areas for our current and future program curriculum, as are required learning, program implementation guidelines and the key target outcomes for each component.
This framework also provides a detailed outline for discussion with State Sporting Organisations, program partners, and fellow Regional Academies to assist in the streamlining and inclusion of new and improved programs within the Academy family.
What can you expect from the framework?
Academy training sessions focus on the individual skill development of the athlete. These are the sports-specific fundamental skills that are relevant to the athlete’s ability to progress through the development pathway in their sport.
These skills are the TECHNICAL Skills required to play the sport and can include:
- Shooting / Scoring / Attacking
- Positional Specific
- Sport Specific
Athletes are given the opportunity to develop their fundamental skills throughout varied playing positions and environments, along with individual and team skills in training and competition environments. The team skill structures, concepts and set plays focus on those used at state trial or state squad level. This allows athletes to develop and practice the skills required to be successful, in moving on the athlete development pathway.
- Athletes exposed to regular high-performance training sessions and environment that compliment or are in addition to their own club / representative commitments.
- Athletes progress in skill development through SSO pathway skill sets and acquisition to a level able to trial and/or be selected into the NSW State performance pathway within their sport and/or meet the skill acquisition targets derived in the MoU.
- Athletes gain increased skill development to play at a higher, and competitive level within their local club or representative sporting team.
- Athletes gain increased individual and team performance understanding, and the ability to show leadership within their respective sporting environments.
The Academy recognises the need to support and develop the total individual, not just their athletic performance (Holistic approach). The targeted sports education component focuses on providing skills that will assist the athlete both inside and outside of competition and training.
Consistent review of the educational topics provided and available takes place resulting in a far more concise, broader range of sports education activities that squad programs can undertake. This has resulted in the inclusion of assessable items, with athletes required to commit some time to study for the sports education program. Greatly emphasizing the mental aspect of the ‘game’ on and more importantly off the field.
Athletes will undertake study from a selection of core and elective subjects available in both face to face, and online lectures; as well as through practical situations, to complement their sports specific on-field training program.
- Athletes undertake a dedicated and focused sports education program, supportive of their holistic development by providing additional skills that will assist them both inside and outside of competition.
- Athletes progress in educational understanding of topics whilst an Academy athlete and gain additional knowledge to increase the athletes opportunity of progressing through the high performance pathway; or in their ability to ‘give back’ to their local sporting community.
- Athletes assisted to reach their vocational, educational, and personal goals.
The Academy supports its athletes, coaches, and programs with scientific and technical testing and monitoring. All test protocols are in line with those used at the higher levels of the sport and are generally conducted where available; in line with testing protocols established by the State Sporting Organisations and the NSW Institute of Sport.
STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
The Academies Strength and Conditioning sessions follow a detailed program featured in the Academy Strength Education Pyramid.
These sessions will take place with a mix of theory and practical components and are led by qualified Academy and guest Strength and Conditioning Coaching staff, primarily as a group/squad and in a professional gym environment, utilising our Academy service providers and partners.
These theory and workshop sessions will include education in;
- Strength terminology
- Training principles
- Functional movement
- Warm up and Cool down
- Safe lifting practices
- Basic Anatomy 101
- Training guidelines for Athletes
- Athletes participate in an ongoing Strength and Conditioning program as a part and in addition to their regular training program.
- Athletes progress through a staged Strength and Conditioning program and gain appropriate knowledge of proper mechanics, the fundamental “why” of a strength and conditioning program, and terminology before progressing to a higher level or gym program.
- Athlete performance data is captured to show progression as well as provide NSWIS/SSO data on the performance of Academy Athletes.
- Identification of future athlete development needs and performance standards within the NSW F.T.E.M development pathway.
Whilst the primary focus of Academy Sport programs is on individual athlete skill development and education, the Academy recognises the need for athletes to have the opportunity to put techniques learnt into practice in competitive and performance situations.
Where possible, Academy squads will compete in inter-Academy competition, such as the ClubsNSW “Your Local Club” Academy Games to showcase their skills and to promote the work of the Academy.
The ClubsNSW “Your Local Club” Academy Games is generally a three-day annual event hosted by a Regional Academy in April. RASi are the overall organisers of the event, which allows athletes a high level of competition with other Regional Academy athletes, across a number of sports.
Academy athletes who are in a sport program covered by the RASi Academy Games will travel and stay together, ideally as one Academy in an “Athlete Village” environment.
Additional opportunities may arise to compete in friendly exhibition matches against other Regional Academies. Opportunities may vary from sport to sport, and some opportunities may be scheduled outside the scope of the Academy sport programs season.
Academy squads may also have the opportunity to contest matches against visiting school-aged teams, from interstate and overseas.
Where opportunities for competition-like events may not exist, the Academy aims to provide additional performance or camp-like experience in an effort to showcase the skill and talent of our Academy athletes. This may be done through partnerships with local charitable groups, local community sporting events, community promotional days, or by Academy athlete-conducted coaching and skills clinics.
Whilst subjectivity in forming competitive teams is sometimes unavoidable, our coaches and athletes are reminded that whilst to win might feel good, Academy programs are focused on Athlete Performance and Development, not on competition.
- Provide an opportunity for athletes to participate against similar or higher quality level athletes within the high-performance pathway, as a part of an Academy squad.
- Provide a focus on individual sporting excellence within a team environment, including opportunities to experience and perform under pressure.
- Provide additional opportunities for high level competition to assist athletes’ preparation for State / National trials, selection, and programs.
- Provide exposure to the high performance pathways and professional league teams training and performance environments.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, first experienced throughout the Academy region in 2020, the Academy found itself recognising that a very important aspect of the development of a holistic athlete came to the forefront through a reinforced focus on the mental health and wellbeing of its members.
With sport programs being unable to meet together for face-to-face training, and a large number of sporting events across NSW and Australia cancelled, the need for a dedicated program that supported athletes, coach, and support staff in their own home and away from the sporting arena was identified.
This is enhanced as an extension to the sport program, with the Academy providing an additional safe and supportive environment, away from the sporting arena, where athletes are encouraged to identify with who they are, and their value as a person; not just their performance.
Where athletes are not seen as just an athlete, but as a community citizen of great worth.
The Academy, in partnering with a number of targeted providers, has identified a Wellbeing and Support services program to meet all these aspects, from providing additional education within the athletes training program, such as performance counselling, self-worth, identity and character building through to identifying external opportunities and support available to the athlete.
- Development of athletes who are supported in all aspects of their holistic growth, with their value placed on them as a person, and not purely on their performance.
- Identification of athletes potential outside of sport, including leadership skills and wellbeing personal development
- Valued long-term life skills growth, and as a community citizen and not just a talented athlete.