Future stars: Jets helping find Ipswich’s ‘little gems’
IT’S amazing what can be achieved when like-minded sporting groups join forces.
Elite coaches share valuable skills, young players benefit and future role models are developed.
As the USQ Ipswich Jets launch into a new Netball Queensland representative season, they are pursuing another progressive community project.
That is working with the Ipswich Netball Association (INA) to help develop another generation of skilful regional players.
The Jets have teamed with INA to run a six-week, Monday night “Rep Ready Program’’ at the Doris Howes courts.
About 100 of the region’s most talented players aged 12-15 have been receiving specialised coaching from people like former international player Vicki Wilson and Jets head coaches Camille Rieck and Tracey Jeanes-Fraser.
Having boosted the program from previous years, INA president Gail Lyne said it was mutually beneficial for the two sporting organisations to develop young players.
The Rep Ready Program is being overseen by Jets Ruby head coach Rieck, who holds an elite coaching accreditation.
Under the program, aspiring junior netballers receive weekly sessions with highly qualified coaches, umpires and support staff.
Ipswich is one of the strongest netball associations in the state and the Jets play in the Netball Queensland Sapphire and Ruby series that feed into the Queensland Firebirds national league team.
“There’s lot of talent in that Ipswich group,’’ Rieck said.
“It’s great that Jets coaches are able to get out and have a look at the kids because sometimes you miss the little gems when you are not involved at this level.
“They are our future stars.’’
Rieck said the program was designed to help players, building a stronger pathway to higher level netball.
She was happy to help out given Ipswich’s 2020 competition was cancelled for the first time in nearly 100 years due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
“They haven’t got a season,’’ she said, “so to keep the girls motivated and understand that there is still some opportunity out for them to develop, I’ve pulled together some quality in Vicki Wilson, Tracey Jeanes-Fraser to run some development sessions with these kids.’’
That includes specialist shooting and defensive strategies.
Jets players assisted in allocating the Ipswich girls into suitable development teams.
After losing a full season of Ipswich fixtures, Lyne said it was important to continue assisting the association’s representative players of the future.
“INA’s philosophy for our representative teams is to provide an inclusive opportunity for as many players as possible to develop, empowering them to continue to participate in this great sport of netball,’’ Lyne said.
“That is what we are attempting to provide, even without a full season and within the constraints of managing the COVID-19 requirements. The relationship with Jets Netball has been a real positive at this time.
“It is very beneficial for both groups.
“The Jets are getting out and knowing all of our people and vice versa.
“We are very keen to work with them.’’
The Jets staff are developing on and off court behaviours like healthy eating, pre and post training habits and wellness and nutrition to prepare future stars for their netball careers.
Australian netball legend Wilson focuses her energy on creating high performing teams through coaching leadership that sets vision, individual and team goals.
Excited to be involved, Rieck said it was important for the Jets to be active.
“We are trying to show that the Jets are inclusive too, to include all of our community,’’ Rieck said.
“We want to provide some role models, both coaches and young kids.’’
Ipswich Mayor and netball fan Teresa Harding joined the latest Monday night session, having also attended the recent Jets season launch.
Cr Harding said it was exciting for the city and the netball fraternity to have someone the calibre of Wilson to lend a helping hand.
“I have been a big fan of Vicki as a player, coach and leader for her sport and women’s sport throughout Queensland and Australia,’’ she said.
“It is such a coup to have her in Ipswich passing on her knowledge and advice to our netball players and coaches.’’
The Ipswich Mayor congratulated INA “for bringing the program to fruition in challenging times and providing our young sports women with new goals to aspire to this season.’’
The Jets Ruby team guided by Rieck made last year’s grand final.
After a first 2020 season win over the Bull Sharks, the Jets Ruby team is preparing for their latest match against the Wildcats. That is at the Queensland State Netball Centre on Sunday night where the Jets Sapphire Series side is also taking on the Wildcats in an earlier game.