By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE North Coast Academy of Sport (NCAS) will be holding its regional athlete and coach education seminar at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus this weekend with more than 300 Academy athletes, parents and coaches expected to attend.
In what is a first for NCAS, the weekend brings together the athletes from its 13 sport programs into the same venue at the same time to receive a revamped athlete education curriculum.
Topics to be presented over the weekend include sports physiology, drugs awareness, sports psychology, core strength and sports nutrition.
Sessions will also be presented on specific issues related to male and female athlete development.
As well as the curriculum being delivered to Academy athletes, who are aged from 11 to 21 years, the weekend will also see over 50 coaches attend a separate coach conference.
The combining of the athletes and coaches education forms part of the Academy's appropriately titled 'RACE' plan which stands for Regional Athlete and Coach Education.
NCAS is a unique sports agency based on the North Coast of NSW that aims to identify and develop emerging talented junior athletes.
The Academy has run annual coaching conferences and workshops since 2000 with the purpose of assisting the regional development of both Academy coaches and other coaches within the broader North Coast sporting community.
"With an increase in the number of Academy sports, an increase in demand for our coach education seminars, along with a review of our athlete education program to better suit the age and knowledge of our athletes, we've come up with this new and exciting concept of bringing everyone together for a weekend of quality sports education," Academy executive director Tony Clarke said.
"Over the past six months, the Academy has worked with a number of professional to rewrite our entire RACE curriculum so that it has a beginner stream to cater for new and younger Academy athletes, and a more advanced stream to cater for our returning or older athletes, many of whom may already be studying sport science subjects at school.
"With this large number of participants, we've been able to secure experts on each topic to travel to come to Coffs Harbour Education Campus to present separate modules for the athletes and coaches."
A new topic that will be presented to the athletes for the first time this weekend revolves around the themes of respect and responsibility.
Developed by NSW Sport and Recreation as part of its State plan, the respect and responsibility program is now being adopted by the network of 10 regional academies throughout NSW.
"The respect and responsibility theme explores how our athletes have the opportunity to consider themselves as Academy ambassadors by making sensible choices, taking responsibility for their actions, and demonstrating a high level of respect for themselves and other people, both on and off the sporting arena," Clarke said.
"We know that our Academy region, which covers the 12 NSW North Coast local government areas from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads, is very proud of our talented and dedicated athletes.
"Through our athlete education program, NCAS hopes to not only develop the skills and fitness of our athletes, but to also enhance their life skills in other ways which will assist them become better members of our community.
"One of the catch phrases that we hope to impress upon the athletes this weekend is that to succeed in sport and life, you need to have a good RACE plan and stick to it."