5 future stars share their Top 5 experiences from the South Coast Blaze 2021 Talent Identification Program

5 future stars share their Top 5 experiences from the South Coast Blaze 2021 Talent Identification Program

Our Talent Identification Program (TIP) connects us with the future stars of netball on the South Coast and surrounding regions including Eurobodalla, Sapphire Coast, Southern Highlands, Southern Tablelands, and South Western Sydney.

In partnership with IMB Bank, Illawarra District Netball Association, Shoalhaven Netball Association, Kiama Netball Association, and Campbelltown District Netball Association, the program was developed to identify talented 14 to 18-year-old female and male athletes and provide them with an opportunity to train with other talented players and receive specialist coaching in a high-performance environment.

Our TIP program was interrupted due to the pandemic and lockdowns, but we adapted. What was initially a setback, quickly provided us with an amazing opportunity to bring in guest speakers to our online sessions and gain insights from the best of the best in netball. This included current and former Australian Diamonds Head Coaches Stacey Marinkovich and Lisa Alexander, former Diamonds captain Liz Ellis, Swifts Assistant Coach Rebecca Bulley, Giants Assistant Coach Jenny O’Keefe, and former Australian and NSW players Susan Pettitt and Kim Green.

Five athletes who participated in the 2021 TIP program were kind enough to share their TIP experience with us, including:

Holly Wilson (18)
Illawarra District Netball Association

Phoebe Szymoniczek (15)
Shoalhaven Netball Association

Grace from Kiama Netball Association faces camera smiling

Grace Schofield (15)
Kiama Netball Association

Jordan Boorer (14)
Campbelltown District Netball Association

Sophie McInerney (16)
Queanbeyan Netball Association

HOLLY WILSON
Illawarra District Netball Association

What was your favourite thing about participating in the TIP program?

My favourite thing about participating in the TIP program is definitely the midi auto all community that you are put in. Getting to know the girls in the program and becoming really good friends whilst having that phenomenal coaching from the TIP coach staff is just unreal. 

What did you like most about the online TIP sessions?

Although it was a bit difficult at times I loved being able to have a little catch up on the online TIP sessions and see everyone. It was also an amazing experience to have special guest appearances on most of the online sessions.

What was the best tip/skill you learnt from the program?

Something that really stuck with me was when a special guest talked to us about being resilient, whether it be in real life or through netball. I felt like I really connected to that personally and yes it was something I was able to positively take away from that session and apply to both my real life and my netball career.

Who was your favourite guest speaker and why? What did you learn from them?

I think one of my favourite guest speakers was an umpire speaker that we had on our last session. He was really inspiring, and he talked about his netball journey throughout Covid and the opportunities that restrictions placed by Covid had presented to him. The thing I took away from that session was the different side to netball the umpires see, and netball not necessarily being two sided, divided as players and umpires but working together as a team to improve each other’s skills.

How do you think the TIP program will help you in your future netball endeavours?

The TIP program and exposed me to different (but still amazing) coaching styles and allowed me the chance to adapt to those different coaching styles. It has also improve my teamwork skills as many of the girls in the program I had never played with before and to come together as a team and train and play was really special, and I know that these skills will help me in the future In many aspects of netball.

Would you recommend TIP to other upcoming netballers?

I would 100% recommend the TIP program, it is a great pathway into being seen by both the south coast blaze representatives and coaches and other associations that may want to pursue the development of your netball career and it’s just an awesome environment and community to be exposed to such a young age. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the program, it’s taught me so much, and I’m so thankful to the coaches and the whole South Coast Blaze team for putting in the effort to run this program it’s an amazing opportunity for younger aspiring netball players.

Holly with Nick Rheinberger from ABC Illawarra, Morning Show presenter

PHOEBE SZYMONICZEK
Shoalhaven Netball Association

What was your favourite thing about participating in the TIP program?

I really enjoyed participating in the TIP program this year as I was able to be coached by skilled and knowledgeable coaches that helped me develop ways I can improve my gameplay and own abilities. I loved the variety of coaches as they all brought different talents and expertise to the program. I also enjoyed how the program changed venues multiple times to allow fairness for all participants. 

What did you like most about the online TIP sessions?

The online TIP sessions allowed me to still keep fit during the lockdown. I still was able to learn important key tips and drills from the coaches as we zoomed. 

What was the best tip/skill you learnt from the program?

I honestly can’t choose one skill that I learnt to be my favourite or the best as every skill I learnt helped me improve my own game and gain more knowledge of my gameplay to be able to perform to the best of my abilities. 

Who was your favourite guest speaker and why? What did you learn from them?

I really enjoyed listening to Stacey Marinkovich and chatting with her about the things she looks for in a Diamond. I learnt that I’ve got to have good teamwork skills with whomever I am in a team with and to always play my game. She taught me that having a unique style of netball and always being myself is important to standing out on the court. 

How do you think the TIP program will help you in your future netball endeavours?

I believe that the TIP program will help me to pursue greater endeavours in netball as I’ve gathered so many new skills and tips that will enable me to perform to a better standard. 

Would you recommend TIP to other upcoming netballers?

Yes, I would definitely recommend trying out for TIP for upcoming netballers to gain more skills and knowledge for their games from elite coaches in our region.

Phoebe Szymoniczek from SNA standing beside Blaze Open’s player, Kristina Brice.

GRACE SCHOFIELD
Kiama Netball Association

What was your favourite thing about participating in the TIP program?

My favourite thing about participating in the TIP program was the comradery of everyone and how the coaches and players still made it feel fun and exciting even though everyone was in lockdown. As well as all the new skills I learnt and all the new people I got to meet.

What did you like most about the online TIP sessions?

I really enjoyed the multiple guests that got to join us on the zooms such as the Blaze players and even getting to talk to people apart of the Suncorp Super Netball League.

What was the best tip/skill you learnt from the program?

I really enjoyed the yoga sessions. I felt they were a different and interesting way of warming down, it was definitely something I have never thought of doing after a challenging netball session.

Who was your favourite guest speaker and why? What did you learn from them?

Taylor Davis was my favourite guest player, she spoke well and I learnt a lot of new skills that I can definitely use on a netball court. However, my favourite guest speaker would have to be Liz Ellis or Julie Fitzgerald. They are both so knowledgeable with their netball and it was such a treat to get an insight into the way they coach and their attitude and approach to challenges.

How do you think the TIP program will help you in your future netball endeavours?

I believe it will make me more mature and knowledgeable in the way I play. I can take all the skills and tricks I learnt from the Blaze and really apply it to my netball, as well as applying it to my coaching. I have found I am improving each year with help from the Blaze without even knowing it!

Would you recommend TIP to other upcoming netballers?

I believe TIP is a great way to improve and learn skills, the coaches are very welcoming, kind and knowledgeable and they always love to give a helping hand to really push us to be the best player we can be. It is also a great pathway and opportunity if you want to take your netball to the next level. I would highly recommend the TIP program for any upcoming and passionate netball players.

JORDAN BOORER
Campbelltown District Netball Association

What was your favourite thing about participating in the TIP program?

My favourite thing about the TIP program in 2021 was having the opportunity to learn new skills, train with other talented players and recovery specialist coaching in a high performance environment. I like the encouragement, support and feedback both players and coaches provided me with. I would like to thank everyone involved in the TIP program for making this possible and giving me the opportunity.

What did you like most about the online TIP sessions?

The best part of having TIP online sessions would be interacting with other athletes, having the opportunity to maintain fitness and learn new skills while in lockdown.

What was the best tip/skill you learnt from the program?

The best skill learnt was how to clear out and give space to others and reset the play

Who was your favourite guest speaker and why? What did you learn from them?

My favourite guest speaker was Stacey Marinkovich as she told how to prepare for trials, steps on becoming a diamond, to always keep pushing yourself and don’t let setbacks affect you.

How do you think the TIP program will help you in your future netball endeavours?

The TIP program will help me in the future as it leads me to different pathways and teaches me how to become an elite netball player. It prepares me for new opportunities such as trials.

Would you recommend TIP to other upcoming netballers?

I would recommend the TIP program to upcoming netballers as it gives them new opportunities, experience, what to expect and builds your confidence.

jordan-stands with a netball at netball post

SOPHIE MCINERNEY
Queanbeyan Netball Association

What was your favourite thing about participating in the TIP program?

My favourite thing about participating in the TIP program was having the opportunity to be coached by a variety of coaches and learning different things from each coach. Having the chance to be coached by so many coaches has given me more range on how to tackle different challenges.

What did you like most about the online TIP sessions?

What I liked the most about the online group sessions was the direct coaching, moving into smaller groups with a different coach each time. The group session which was designed for centre courts focussing on footwork was my favourite session.

What was the best tip/skill you learnt from the program?

The best skill/tip I have learnt from the TIP Program is that footwork is very important and not to take such big steps as I need really good quick footwork for a wing attack on a centre pass to get free and find space.

Who was your favourite guest speaker and why? What did you learn from them?

I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet so many amazing role models from the netball community but my favourite guest speakers were Liz Ellis and Lisa Alexander. Both of these guest speakers are such inspirational and passionate women. They taught me that without working hard we won’t be the best player we can be and that working hard behind closed doors counts even more than training and working hard with eyes on you. They also taught me that our mental health is important, and we should focus on ourselves both physically and mentally. Without this TIP program, I wouldn’t have had these amazing opportunities to meet some of the most inspirational people in our netball community.

How do you think the TIP program will help you in your future netball endeavours?

The TIP program will help me in my future netball because it has given me more confidence in my netball abilities and given me the confidence to speak up if I have questions and not be scared to ask for help. The program was really good online so I can’t wait to see how good the court sessions will be face to face!

Would you recommend TIP to other upcoming netballers?

I would definitely recommend the TIP program to all young and aspiring netballers. Having such a great community like Blaze is such a great opportunity that you need to be a part of! This has been one of the greatest experiences I have had. Thank you to all the coaches and administrators who gave up their Sunday mornings for the TIP program. To all the TIP athletes, I congratulate you for joining the online program, even if we didn’t get our Sunday sleep-ins. I would also like to say a special huge thank you to Marji and Michelle for organising and making our training so enjoyable and for the record Marji, I would choose Milk Chocolate over Old Gold any day!!!!!

Thank you to all athletes who trialled for and participated in our 2021 Talent Identification Program. We were blown away by your commitment and enthusiasm, particularly given the challenges presented by Covid-19, and look forward to running the program again in 2022.

2022 Talent Identification Program (TIP) 

IMB South Coast Blaze TIP is an elite netball development program for talented female and male athletes aged 14 to 18 from the NSW South Coast, Far South Coast (Eurobodalla, the Sapphire Coast, Southern Highlands, etc.), the Southern Tablelands (Goulburn, Queanbeyan, etc.), Southern Sydney and surrounding regions. It provides athletes within these regions the opportunity to train with other talented athletes and receive specialist coaching in a high-performance environment.

Registration to trial for the 2022 TIP will open early in 2022. Sign up to our mailing list to be notified when registrations open.