For budding elite athletes, having an extra form of support beyond extracurricular and school sports and training can be a springboard into further sporting success.
The Elite and Emerging Athlete Program (EEAP) at ELTHAM College aims to develop greater awareness of elite pathways, assist in developing and achieving performance goals, nurture future career aspiration, and foster general health and wellbeing benefits.
The EEAP was initiated by two ELTHAM staff members, Lesley Moulin and Nicole Howard, who both have backgrounds in playing and coaching sport at a high level. The program is strongly complemented by Core Advantage, a high performance company who works with elite youth and professional athletes throughout Melbourne.
In 2019, 18 successful applicants from Years 6–8 became the initial participants of the EEAP, with representatives in a wide range of sports including basketball, swimming, cycling, AFL, kayaking, tennis and soccer. This year, the program expanded to 24 students, with students involved in sports as diverse as hockey, volleyball, triathlon, calisthenics, running and tumbling, in addition to those from the initial intake.
Students undertake training sessions twice a week, with additional coaching sessions in selected sports offered at various times of the year. Even with the challenges of 2020, the program has continued to run, with at-home training and online consultations made available to participants.
Initial fitness testing and a screening of the current athletic profile of all participants helps support their development and the implementation of individual programs. This one-on-one approach and detailed analysis of each athlete enables the detection of muscle and biomechanical deficiencies, correction of poor technique, and lays the groundwork for improved strength and power outcomes. Injury prevention is also focused on, so that the athletes can continue to perform safely.
ELTHAM’s Director of Sport, Craig Seckold, says that the program has been incredibly valuable to the students involved, with the emerging athletes noting an improvement to their skills and strength. One of the students said he enjoyed meeting other like-minded students across both the Junior and Senior School, as they all worked to similar goals and helped motivate each other.