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Our Autumn 2018 Academies going from strength to strength

Our Autumn 2018 Academies going from strength to strength

It’s been almost 11 years since Beacons founder Sam Holder’s vision became a reality, at the age of just 18, and all her hard work since has got Beacons firmly on the Netball map. The vision was many things, one being creating a place for young girls to learn new sporting skills, build confidence and encourage a strong teamwork mentality. The result of that, a decade on, is inspirational. We now have close to 200 girls participating in Beacons Academies in Dulwich and Lewisham as well as over 80 girls in the competitive squads and the work ethic and commitment shown is proven in the number of girls that keep coming back year on year.

We now have girls who first arrived at the Academy sessions as 8 year olds, returning to the club between university terms to help out with coaching. We’ve also been fortunate to have four new coaches joining us this September, Lisa, Fiona, Rochelle and Rachel, who have all been a great asset to Beacons. When we talk about the Beacons Family – this is just what we mean.

This term the academies opened their doors on September 30th. It was an exciting day as the Dulwich Academy added a new session to its schedule and welcomed 28 girls across years 2,3 and 4 into the fold. The other two sessions in Dulwich covering Yr 5-9 have been fully booked with 34 new members across the two groups, which means there has been a great surge of new and enthusiastic youngsters, keen to excel at this sport.

Lewisham have had a fantastic start to the term as well, with all of our girls settling into routines, drills, fun activities and match play. We have welcomed 36 new players to the two sessions and the level of enthusiasm is so amazing that we wish we could bottle it!

At the end of every month, our Beacons Bees are awarded at each Academy to the player who has worked hard and shown true commitment to their sport. Bertie and Bobbie were awarded for the first time this season to Eliza and Tessa respectively.

We are very fortunate to have a great netball community in South-East London and we welcomed the opportunity to gain some all important match play experience in some friendly junior fixtures against Hornets Netball at the end of October. The matches were great to watch and the 31 players involved were thrilled to have the chance to put their academy training into action! We have another round of fixtures booked in for the end of November with hopefully more to follow throughout the season.

Keep up the hard work everyone!

Autumn Term Training Academies Story so far..

Autumn Term Training Academies Story so far..

Another year means another new set of Beacons Academies; this term has seen some fantastic returning netballers and newbies with great potential. We started off this term with our academies in Lewisham and Dulwich full up with enthusiastic young players who couldn’t wait to get started on match play (which was evident of how many asked me on the first session!). On the first week, we did some basic ball skills to shake off any of the summer rustiness for the girls and to get them used to handling the ball. After we had done this we went straight into match play, to all of the girls’ delight, we mixed up the age/year groups and split the girls into different teams which meant they could easily get to know everyone in their academy. This also allowed us to gauge the fantastic level of netball and what we needed to work on in the following weeks.

In week 2 our main focus was on change of direction and movement skills, this week was an important one as changing direction correctly is a key aspect of the game. So with each group, the coaches did a lot of different drills with the girls having to change their angles and hip movements. After the drills were completed and the snack/drinks break was over we went straight onto match play with the girls and could already see a massive difference in the girl’s movement which was week 2 over with satisfaction.

Week 3 was all about passing and footwork skills, the key skills for any netball player to have mastered. We started off with passing against the wall which is really good for any player to do as it shows them how there passing is improving, as I always say the wall will give you what you give the wall! We could see a massive improvement in the girls passing as the session went on and felt the girls had really taken on board the coaching points. We then moved onto out footwork portion of the session, this saw the players doing a lot of landing skills and landing on their both Left and Right feet as well as both, may not sound that hard now but I can assure you once you get going it isn’t that easy! The majority of the groups even managed to get on to turning in the air which is a harder skill but those who moved onto it were definitely mastering the technique. When we began gameplay we made it clear to all the girls we would be looking at footwork and passing as the key of the games and I have to say there were a few footworks but a huge step up from the week before!

Week 4 we moved onto defence and of course where better to start than at stage 1, which is all about marking your player. The one question I always ask at the start of a defending session is “who on the court is a defender?” luckily and to my relief, in every session, the majority of people said EVERYONE, phew! First obstacle out the way we look at angles and how the girls should place themselves when marking a player, we also looked at changing your angles or Wonky T, as the girls now know the stance as, when your player is changing direction. Some sessions took to this quicker than others however most sessions struggled with having to look at the player and the ball and they all learnt the new phrase “peripheral vision”. We also played a fantastic game of Rats and Rabbits which the girls absolutely loved the reaction and chasing involved, however, I got a lot of different animals throughout the day, even Hippos and Elephants! When moving onto gameplay it was clear the girls had taken the session on board with lots of lovely interceptions and even 2 handed ones, job done for week 4!

Week 5 was the last session before the October half term, with a lot of tired girls and tired brains we knew this session would be a challenge! Our focus for this week was small-sided games, so we played a lot of different games to get the girls thinking tactically which was great to watch. The girls came up with very good solutions to problems and even some very interesting but wonderful ways of distraction. As normal we ended the session with gameplay, however, we must have woken the tactical brain up in some of the players as the gameplay was very well executed, all in all, a great first half to the term. Bring on the rest of the term and 2018!