Lightning And Carlton FC’s Cross-Code Collaboration

Sunshine Coast Lightning are constantly looking to improve both on and off court.

A unique opportunity presented itself last week when AFL side Carlton travelled north to participate in a pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast.

Lightning CEO Danielle Smith recently participated in the AFL Coaches Association (AFLCA) New York Leadership Immersion Program, alongside Carlton Assistant Coach Cameron Bruce.

Photo: Carlton Head Coach David Teague and Lightning Head Coach Kylee Byrne

That pre-existing connection led to Carlton’s Head Coach David Teague and key high performance personnel touring USC facilities last week, including the redeveloped USC Stadium and state-of-the-art USC Aquatic Exercise Facility, before attending a Lightning court session.

The session saw Teague running a defensive positioning drill with the team, exploring how the athletes can incorporate body positioning craft common in AFL, while tailoring it to netball’s demands.

Later in the week Lightning players and staff observe a Carlton training session before coming together to network and share unique challenges and learnings from their respective codes.

Carlton are one of six AFL Clubs to venture north to the Sunshine Coast to facilitate pre-season camps, while a number of international sporting teams have taken advantage of USC’s upgraded aquatic facilities since officially opening in late 2019.

Danielle Smith’s participation in the AFLCA New York Leadership Immersion Program allowed for a week of intensive learning and discussion with a range of international best practice organisations.

Topics covered included sport leadership, coaching and high performance, global sports marketing and sponsorship, media and communication skills, together with community and grassroots programs. A comprehensive look into the New York tour can be found here.

The collaboration with the AFL and now Carlton is just one of many occasions where Lightning have looked to expand their knowledge base by tapping into the knowledge and expertise of differing sporting codes. The Club will continue exploring ways to adapt new learnings and implement them at an operational level both at Lightning and across the Storm family.


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