Archive for: January 2021

Adapting to thrive


If history has taught followers of Yallourn-Yallourn North Football Netball Club anything, it’s that change represents opportunity.

It is with this spirit and endeavour that the club begins its latest chapter, in the AGL Loy Yang North Gippsland Football Netball League.

Yallourn-Yallourn North was unanimously accepted as the league’s 11th member club in December and club president Evan Sheekey said he was looking forward to exploring the new surroundings, meeting new people and introducing them to his club and community.

“We’re proud to be here and part of a club that is inclusive to all,” Sheekey said.

“[Opposition clubs] will be greeted with a smile and we’ll be rip-roaring ready to go so they’ll be up for a hard task but definitely we’ll be really welcoming and show them they want to come back.”

Sheekey understands first-hand the importance of a local footy and netball club.

The second-year president grew up in the town and joined the local club as a junior, following in his dad’s footsteps.

However, it was some years later that his bond to the club was truly formed.

“I had a bit of a personal tragedy in 2009 and the boys at the footy club really got around me. It was sort of a home away from it all,” he said.

“I owed them a bit of service back and that’s probably why I’m still around [even though] I’m not playing.

“It’s given me a second life.”

Sheekey’s experience offers a timely reminder that people lie at the heart of a club’s identity – more so than opponents, colours or emblems – as the club embarks on a process to change the latter out of respect for fellow Bombers outfit and neighbouring club, Traralgon-Tyers United. 

“We’re rebranding over the next 12 months to move away from the Bombers to something totally different. A whole new strip, a whole new clean slate,” Sheekey said.

“We’ll stay as the Bombers for this year except when we play TTU and then next year we’ll roll out the new strip and new netball dresses and the new logo.

“I’m looking forward to playing TTU and forming a rivalry… Being neighbours we’ve had a great rivalry with Newborough over the years so hopefully we can build on that.”

Yallourn North stalwart Ray DeCarli has seen it all – from the amalgamation with Yallourn Football Club in 1977 and subsequent stint at the top table in the Latrobe Valley Football League, to the combined club’s relocation to Yallourn North and eventual return to the Mid Gippsland league.

He can attest that agility is key to sustainability and new beginnings need not dismiss the past.

“We’re not afraid to change, we’ve done it before,” DeCarli said.

“In ‘77 our footy club was pretty average, we were battling [and] we had no facilities. They were going to dig up Yallourn and we thought if we amalgamate we can get the facilities up here at Yallourn North where we play today. We played down there for five seasons then came up here and got the new oval and a lot of the facilities here now are from Yallourn… it was well worth doing what we did.”

The renovated social rooms, scoreboard and grandstand that once stood on the Yallourn No. 1 Oval and now grace the present-day facility at George Bates Reserve will soon be accompanied by new football oval lights and a second netball court, both of which should be ready for the start of the season.

DeCarli, who was named in the Yallourn-Yallourn North Football Club (1977-1985) Team of the Century, said all the changes pointed to a bright future and meant the club was well-placed to preserve what was most important.

“It’s about the social atmosphere, the camaraderie,” he said.

“It’s part of what a township’s about. It’s somewhere to meet, it’s what we love to do.”

The Bombers – as they remain for now – begin their campaign with a tough trip to Yarram for a blockbuster season opener on Good Friday, 2 April.

Pre-season has commenced with the club keen to build on a strong final season in the Mid Gippsland league, in which eight of 10 teams played finals, including four grand final appearances for two premierships.

Quite how their on-field and on-court competitiveness stacks up in a new league remains to be seen, but the club can be confident its proactive, member and community-driven approach has provided a strong platform on which to build once again.

Monday 1st February 2021: Damen Francis

Return to Training Guidelines


With netball beginning to return to pre-COVID normal, it is important that as coaches we are aware of some simple guidelines and processes when returning to coaching.

The immediate thought for many coaches is to get back to regular session lengths, number of sessions and training styles (contesting, intensity, movements). Since most community sport ceased for a majority of 2020, the bodies of our athletes have changed and need to regain their muscle
memory due to the different types of training/activities they have been able to do. Our athletes need time to re-adjust and re-load on court and in team environments. Overall, the message is simple: we need to stage the comeback of the athletes to netball.

Before you attend training, there are a couple of things to remember:
• Make sure your accreditation is current:
• Ensure you have paid your Netball Victoria membership:

Below is a weekly guide to assist your athletes back to full training.

Weeks 1-2:
• Length: 45 minutes to 1 hour. Whilst Netball Victoria has some guidelines on the length of trainings (link below), it is imperative that you do not shorten your warmup or cool down – rather shorten the mid-section of training.
• Focus: Expose the muscles to the movements performed on court at a low load. Focus on form rather than pace or intensity. The knee program is a great resource and can be accessed via the link below. Get a ball in their hands and get them passing to each other.
• Contesting: 10-15 minutes. The athletes will need to re-train their bodies to perform the
skills of netball to the same standard they were before netball ceased, so allow time to do that without added pressure from an opponent.

Weeks 3-4:
• Length: 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
• Focus: Try to add in reaction-based drills where they must read space or execute timing, rather than just doing patterned ball work. You should be focused on increasing the intensity of the skills and drills you are doing.
• Contesting: 15-30 minutes. Do not be afraid to remove an opponent if an athlete is finding contesting too challenging.

Weeks 5-6:
• Length: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
• Focus: Increase the challenges placed on our athletes when executing skills and strategies (e.g. defensive pressure, problem solving, working under fatigue). Implement match simulations here (e.g. half court, live ball scenarios etc.).
• Contesting: 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Things to look out for:
Be considerate with the athletes’ passing, shooting, timings and reading space, acknowledging they will be a bit ‘off’ after so much time spent away from the court. They will not be the same athletes as when they left and that is to be expected. Start with basic skills working through the 7-steps of
progression (the foundation and development coaching manuals are a handy resource for how to progress skills) and progress from there.

Be aware of any warning signs that your athlete might not be coping with the amount/kind of training they are performing. It is not just physical fatigue or strain that we are looking for, but mental and emotional as well.

Signs to be wary of:
• Soreness/tightness – particularly in the lower limbs and shoulders.
• Tiredness
• Flat mood
• Impatience and irritability – this may be difficult to judge, as they will be rusty and may become agitated that they are not at the same level as when they stopped face to face netball. Things such as “I am better than this” may be heard if this is the case.

Key tips for success:
• Create a culture where the athlete is comfortable to speak up if they have a concern about injury or mental related issues.
• Check in with your athletes in a one-on-one environment. Getting involved in idle chat with them is important so we can find out more about how they are going. Obviously, that needs to happen outside of training time (remember get in, train, get out).
• Try to ask the athletes about their mood and thoughts rather than the standard ‘How are you feeling?’. This will encourage more conversation rather than a shortened answer.
• Be aware that some athletes may not give you the correct information (e.g. having sore quads) for fear of being sat out of a session. Be vigilant and check in with your athletes.
• If you have not already, it is important to educate your athletes on recovery (please see link below).
• Be mindful of your athlete’s total time on court and not just when they are active.
• The most important factors in their recovery are sleep, hydration, diet, stretching/foam rolling and rest.
• Only arrive when required and leave straight after your training/game.
• And most importantly – take the time to return to ‘normal’ trainings and enjoy being back on court with your teams!

2021 Season Draw


With the introduction of al eleventh team (YYNFNC) the 2021 season draw has taken on a slightly different look.