ASPIRE. It’s a word that has driven Newcastle netballer, Sam Poolman, her entire life and something she wants the region’s next generation of netballers to do as they aim to reach the top in their sport.
After starring for the Giants Netball franchise in their inaugural Suncorp Super Netball season and recently being part of the Australia Diamonds Camp, Poolman will be back in Newcastle this Sunday to put 32 of the Hunter’s brightest young netball stars through their paces as they prepare for selection in the 2017 NSW squads.
The Aspire program, supported by the Hunter Academy of Sport and Greater Bank, will see the Academy’s netball squad participants take part in an intensive 10-week program designed and conducted by Poolman that will not only improve players’ skills on the court but also life skills off it.
As a former member of the Hunter Academy’s netball program, Sam knows better than most what it takes for these young netballers to achieve their sporting dreams and she hopes that her new program will provide them with the physical and mental skills to reach their goals.
“There is no doubt you need great talent to make it to the top in any sport, but the reality is you need so much more,” Poolman said.
“When I was the same age as these girls, l wasn’t a naturally talented athlete. l just knew l needed a great work ethic to take that next step. There has been a lot of sacrifice along the way, not just for me but also my family, which has enabled me to progress to where l am today.
“I’m passionate about netball and Newcastle, and I want to pass on to these girls the skills and knowledge to help them take the next step.
“Over the 10-week program the girls will undergo intensive training sessions that will help lift their skill set to the next level, but just as important, I want to take them through the mental side of the game and training, teach them about goal setting and the importance of having resilience, and also give them a greater understand of the sacrifices it takes to make it to the top of the game.
“The reality is, not every one of these players will make it in the sport, but I want them to walk away from my program with a greater understanding of what it takes to achieve success in whatever their chosen endeavour, be it sport, study or career.”
Greater Bank has partnered with Poolman to deliver the elite junior program. Community Engagement Manager, Ingrid Kaczor, said they were delighted to link with such a passionate and dedicated player to deliver the program.
“All sports need a hero and for these young netballers there is none greater at the moment than Sam Poolman,” Ms Kaczor said.
“We’ve seen the journey Sam has been on over the last 10 years to go from an aspiring local netballer to a star of the national league, and we are looking forward to partnering with her to foster the next generation of netball stars from the Hunter.”
The Aspire program participants will assemble for the first time this Sunday, 6 August at the Hunter Academy of Sport’s new headquarters at the McDonald Jones Stadium Administration building where they will meet Sam Poolman and undertake fitness testing.