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Pre-Season Intensity Lifts In Week Two

The competitive drive at Sunshine Coast Lightning has impressed Head Coach Kylee Byrne this fortnight, with the focus at training already shifting from basic skills back to game strategy and tactics.

Byrne said the playing group returned to group sessions better than expected and as a team, there is an eagerness to pick up where they left off before the initial COVID-19 restrictions were enforced.

“Today was session three for us back on court and it was pretty amazing actually,” Byrne said.

“We’ve been judging how the girls have gone and how quickly we need things to move, but they have come back exceptionally well – probably better than I thought.

“We are already back into strategies and talking about how to take down opposition.”

The players will resume full training hours at the Club from Monday, with six weeks remaining until the Suncorp Super Netball season officially begins.

With the round one commencement date looming on August 1, Byrne said the team had this week re-visited the concept of defensive strategies and drills.

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“We concentrated a little bit more on the defensive side of our game, where the first week was about getting ball in hand and executing basic skills.

“Today we got more into defence, we looked at how we are going to work together to stop the ball moving down the court.”

Maddy McAuliffe said the team were already benefitting from the additional strength and conditioning workouts during isolation.

Players completed tailored gym programs and extended running and cycling sessions, which the midcourter believes will provide a solid base to build upon with the reintroduction of court time.

“I’m feeling great after the break, we got some really good strength and conditioning times, we got in some good running on the track and gym work at home,” McAuliffe said.

“As a group we have a really solid foundation and a good base and it’s nice to get back and start playing with a ball again.

“The focus last week was on getting those basic skills right and this week we have seen a shift towards a performance focus and to start working on our strategies again.

“The countdown is well and truly on and I can definitely see that shift within the playing group as we start to work towards round one.”

McAuliffe said there were some obvious adjustments going from training in isolation compared to the largely netball-specific sessions but that the team was enjoying the time together again.

“It was definitely new to have a ball in hand and to be passing it around the group – we’d been limited to passing to a wall for so long,” she said.

“It’s like riding a bike, it comes back to you pretty quickly, the hardest thing was probably adjusting to that change of direction after so much long running.

“We are shaking off the cobwebs after our first full week and now we’re hitting the ground running towards round one.”