Academy Providing Holistic Approach to Athlete Development
28th June 2023
By Bianca Smith
For more than 30 years, the Hunter and Central Coast Academies of Sport have been equipping young athletes with the skills to excel in their chosen field, many of whom have gone on to achieve national and international success.
Developing an athlete’s skills away from the sporting field is equally important today, and was the focus of the mid-year Education Day held at McDonald Jones Stadium over the weekend.
Around 60 athletes from seven of the Academy programs participated in a range of seminars led by industry leaders who provided both theoretical knowledge and practical skills across a range of areas. These included:
Nutrient Nation - Rebecca Haslam, Sports Dietitian: An overview of fuel source groups, fuelling the body before and after an event, as well as the importance of hydration and recovery.
Mind and Body Balance - Fiona McCarthy, Sports Psychology: Goal and mind setting, overcoming adversity and challenges, breathing and how to manage stressful or pressured situations.
Media - Frank Barret, Newcastle Knights: Preparing athletes to respond to the media in both interview and press conference settings.
Road Safety – Petar Govorusa, Road Safety Australia: As young athletes obtain their drivers licence, Petar communicated the importance of decision making while driving, driving tips and advice, road safety statistics, and the process of road trauma and fatality.
Financial Literacy – Emma Dumbrill, Greater Bank: Understanding the foundations of financial literacy to empower athletes to make informed choices that will assist in securing their financial future.
Hunter and Central Coast Academies of Sport CEO, Brett O’Farrell, said that education is a vital component of the Academy programs.
“The Academy’s role is to prepare talented young pre-elite male and female athletes for the rigours of the elite levels of their chosen sport. It’s imperative though that our athletes don’t just graduate as better sportsmen and sportswomen, but better people,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“These key educational opportunities provide young athletes with access to quality support and development in an holistic environment – opportunities that would not otherwise be available.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have strong relationships with industry leaders who have been more than happy to impart their knowledge to some of the region’s rising sporting stars.”
Long-time Academy sponsor, Greater Bank, has been providing educational support to Academy athletes for the past five years.
Greater Bank Chief Distribution Officer, Emma Brokate, said they are delighted to provide the Academy with more than financial support that aims to directly benefit the athletes.
“Financial literacy is a skill for life, and something that many young people, aspiring athletes or not, miss during their formative years,” Ms Brokate said.
“Elite athletes, which we hope many of the Academy athletes go on to become, often have the potential to earn substantial amounts of money during their careers. However, without proper knowledge, they may fall into making poor financial decisions.
“The financial literacy education session we conducted is based on the Greater Bank Finance Academy Program we have developed in conjunction with the University of Newcastle, which covers a range of fundamental financial skills that aim to empower these athletes to make informed choices and assist in securing their financial futures.”
Both Hunter and Central Coast Academies assist young sports people to overcome barriers to technical, educational and personal development by providing localised programs, access to learning resources and camps and competitions. Academy development programs have a strong and sustained record of producing sporting and community leaders across NSW.