Building on the success of Pamela Cookey’s Mintridge silver programme in 2016, Surrey Storm Vice-Captain and Mintridge Ambassador, Georgia Lees headed north with the Mintridge team to visit the Harrogate Halos Junior Netball Club. Georgia delivered a silver programme as part of their preseason schedule on Monday 4th September 2017.

With many of the Halos squad returning to the court from their summer holidays, Georgia had an action packed day in store for the U12, U14 and U16 squad members. The day began with a short presentation from Georgia to introduce the players and coaches to her sporting story and where her journey to the top began, including her selection for the U19 England squad in 2012. Georgia spoke of the importance of commitment to reach individual targets and goals which everyone took on board. Although the girls were a little shy when it came to questions, there would be plenty of time for that later in the day. In the meantime…

It’s preseason… therefore it’s FITNESS time!

After a short warm up, getting the girls back into the swing of things, Georgia had everyone on the back line ready for some pyramid shuttles counting down from 8. The girls worked incredibly hard and there were still lots of smiling faces at the end before happily picking up a ball between two to work on “anywheres” and footwork sessions. The first session flew by and Georgia was very pleased with the work rate from all the girls. A very deserving break was coming up in preparation for the defence session that would lead the girls into lunch.

Despite Georgia now being a dominant mid court player, she came into the Storm set up as a defender and she enjoyed demonstrating the skills with the Halos players that took her to the top of the game. Focussing on restricting attacking space, each team was making vast improvements across the course of the morning which would later prevail in the match play.

The Halos players enjoyed some rest and relaxation over lunch, catching up with the girls that they hadn’t seen over the holidays while Georgia and the Mintridge team decided that they were very jealous of all the Halos kit supplies (even the matching socks!). After a short break, Georgia opened up for questions from the girls:

“What do you eat before a match?”

“How many times a week do you train?”

“Do you get to travel abroad playing netball?”

“What is the difference between Fast Fives and normal netball?”

Georgia loved answering the questions for the girls who had gained much confidence throughout the morning but it was now time to return to court for an attacking session, where for the next 45 minutes, the Surrey Storm Wing Attack encouraged the girls with ideas that would take their opposing defender on with change of pace and front cuts.

As the day moved on, Georgia gradually introduced competitive scenarios before eventual match play in the final session. After attacking, the focus turned to staying positive in tough situations with ideas such as overloading defenders in a small area but encouraging the girls to maintain successful pass rate and so on. It worked very well but the girls were itching to get into position to put their new skills to the test.

The matches were a great way to end the netball element of the day before photos and awards time! The 32 girls came together for a group photo with Georgia with beaming smiles all round. Georgia also wanted to give out some very deserving awards to some of the girls.

Emma (U12) was presented with a Mintridge medal; despite feeling ill during the first session, she came back raring to go and was extremely proactive for the rest of the day, engaging with questions and putting in maximum effort to all the tasks that Georgia presented her. Well done Emma.

For Carys (U14) & Poppy (U16), they were awarded the silver mentoring programme as their attitude and ability really stood out for Georgia who said that they were a pleasure to work with. The girls will gain Skype and Playwaze access to Georgia over the next six months to help develop their game with help and advice on different aspects. It’s going to be an exciting few months ahead which will in turn filter through to their teams.

The Halos girls had the chance for individual photos with Georgia as well as each receiving her autograph before returning home after a tiring day.

Thank you very much to Tori Watson for continuing to work with Mintridge, we love delivering programmes with Halos and it is great to see the girls developing new skills each year.

If you would like to see the YouTube video from the day, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRmo8wi8TDU&feature=youtu.be

The full album of photos will be with the Halos coaches as well as on the Mintridge Events Facebook page.