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Lightning Ready To ‘Return To Play’

There was always a strong sense that netball would return in 2020, but this week’s confirmation that a full season would go ahead sent a wave of excitement around the Sunshine Coast Lightning camp.

The finer details of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season are yet to be finalised, but Head Coach Kylee Byrne said the firm start date of Saturday 1 August gives the team a clear timeframe to work towards.

“There was a bit of excitement floating around on the weekend and such a sense that that holding pattern is now finished and we are working towards something,” Byrne said.

“As elite athletes and coaches, we just needed a date, and now the focus has shifted and we’re ready to go.”

This week saw a return to group training for the Lightning team, after the Queensland Government brought forward phase two in the ease of COVID-19 restrictions.

Current regulations mean only 20 people (inclusive of athletes, coaches and support staff) can attend training at any given time, while also taking into account strict social distancing measures.

The return to court is vital with just over seven weeks until the season start date, so that the players safely build on their training load and finesse their skills with ball in hand.

“The confirmed start date means we can start tailoring their training,” she said.

“We’ve got a really detailed return to train, return to play plan in action and we’re really happy with that,” she said, “… but we’ve still got government restrictions and Suncorp Super Netball restrictions.”

The transition from at home training to being match fit brings with it a range of complexities, which Byrne and the wider High Performance team have been tirelessly mapping out in preparation for this time.

“They’ll come back really fit and really strong because that’s the work they’ve been doing (training from home) but now it’s about transitioning and back to netball and netball movements – that really specific training.

“They’ve been running and cycling long distances, so making that change back to smaller moves, agility, change of direction, that is what is going to be the hard thing.

“We’ve got a lot going on in the background looking at risk of injury and even getting used to being back out on floorboards – there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure it’s as seamless as possible.”

The Suncorp Super Netball season will commence on 1 August 2020, with further information around fixturing to be released by the Super Netball League commission in the coming months.

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