Lightning Building Towards Full Four Quarter Efforts

Strength and fitness gains made in isolation are beginning to translate out on court according to Sunshine Coast Lightning player Maddy McAuliffe.

The midcourter said establishing match fitness was now a priority as the proposed 1 August start date for the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season draws near.

“This week court training has ramped up even more,” McAuliffe said.

“As we approach the beginning of the season, the focus is on that real game preparation and getting ready for whatever the season may throw our way.

“We’ve shifted from that real strength and conditioning base to skills and now it’s just solidifying strategies from earlier in the year and working towards implementing them over a full 60 minutes.

“We are all really pleased with where we are at considering we haven’t played a lot of actual netball.”

There has also been an emphasis on finessing game strategy and trying to replicate the physicality of competitive netball as best possible in training, to ensure Lightning players are prepared for the season start.

This week the athletes underwent routine body composition scans, posting positive results across the board which McAuliffe credits to the athletes’ dedication during isolation and on return to USC.

“One of the most exciting things was to see the fitness and strength base transition into our on court performance – it is exactly what we wanted to see,” she said.

“We had body composition scans this week and I think, as a group, the muscle gain was quite impressive, considering for a couple of months we were unable to gain access to the USC High Performance gym.

“Sometimes it is hard to know where you are at, so to have that objective measure was really cool and our Strength and Conditioning Coach was certainly pleased.”

McAuliffe said Lightning were adapting well despite the uncertainty surrounding the season and fixture.

As a group, both the coaches and players are looking to areas of their own game that they can control to keep motivation levels high and to create a level of routine and comfort.

“For athletes who appreciate a structured routine, it’s definitely a challenge,” she said.

“But we understand that the Suncorp Super Netball have a hard job of trying to create a draw in a climate that doesn’t have any stability.

“We are just focusing on this week, focusing on ourselves.

“It’s a cliché in all sport but it has become quite applicable in the current environment because you can’t focus on anything more.”

SSN are expected to release more information surrounding the 2020 fixture shortly.