FRESH off the back of a post-season finals run with the Greater Western Sydney Giants in Super Netball, Newcastle’s Sam Poolman has returned to the Hunter on a mission: inspire the next generation of netballers.
It’s a personal campaign the 27 year old national netball star has set herself, after battling her way to the country’s top grade through passion, determination and buckets of mental will.
Through her ASPIRE Development Program, Poolman wants to give the Hunter an “elite program right on its own doorstep”, and help new and aspiring sports stars avoid the “long drive to Sydney” she herself had to undertake.
“I spent so much time in the car, and travelling to development camps and training, and looking back it was insane how much I did,” she said.
“I was really fortunate that I had the support to be able to do that, but there’s so many kids and athletes that can’t make those same sacrifices and journeys that I made so I want to be able to bring the same level of teaching to them and give them those chances.”
While many Super Netball stars are heading off on holidays, or simply enjoying time away from the sport, Poolman’s grind is “just beginning”, with dozens more clinics on the horizon in the coming month.
The program is for young netballers aged 11 to 13 years, giving them the opportunity to learn valuable skills based around netball development.
It follows the success of Poolman’s ASPIRE Academy Program that she launched in conjunction with the Hunter Academy of Sport. This program saw the academy’s netball squad take part in an intensive 10-week program designed and conducted by Poolman that not only improve players’ skills on the court but also life skills off it.
ASPIRE also just celebrated it’s second birthday to cap off a fantastic year for Poolman, who said she was just “so proud” that netballers from around the region were already benefiting from the program just two years in.
“There are so many young Hunter netballers that are taking their first steps on the road to national and international success, and there’s no better feeling – for me – than helping them out on that road,” Poolman said.
“There’s so many sporting stars in other sports that don’t give back in this capacity and I think more should do it. I am really passionate about it and it makes me so happy to see all my girls progressing through the ranks.”
Aspire’s next programs will be hosted at Nelson Bay’s Netball Association on September 10.
Upcoming programs will also be hosted in Port Stephens, Dungog, Taree, Wangi, Forster, Singleton, Belmont, Kurri Kurri, Cessnock, Maitland, Newcastle and Muswellbrook.
For the full list of planned sessions, and to register now, head online to aspirenetball.com/registration.
Greater Bank is currently partnered with Poolman to deliver the elite junior program.