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ASPIRE programs

ASPIRE netball 

ASPIRE Netball program is delivered to current Hunter Academy of Sport squad athletes. Hunter Academy of Sport and Greater Bank have come together to give the opportunity to athletes who have been selected into the 2017/2018 squad. It means making the HAS squad even that more rewarding.


53 athletes from the ages of 14-16 years train with the ASPIRE netball program once a month from Jan through to June.

The program provides direct coaching from professional players and coaches, specialized physio sessions, strength and conditioning, prehab and recovery resources and a large component on wellbeing. Athletes also are provided with an opportunity to seek feedback and guidance by a mentor.


The program gives the Hunter Region athletes an upper hand and opportunity that no other Academy has in NSW.

ASPIRE Strive is a new program launched in 2018! This program has been developed to help Hunter Region netballers who are aged between 14-17 years. This program delivers on all aspects of taking their game both on and off the court a level above. Access to specialist coaches, injury prevention and prehab programs, strength and conditioning and a strong focus on wellbeing away from the court. 

The aim is to prepare athletes to reach their full potential and guide them to success with their performance in 2018. With the support of Netball NSW, the program gives athletes a chance to train in a high developed program once a month in the Hunter.

ASPIRE Development program is targeted for players between 11-15 years of age.

The three-week program focuses on the importance of skill development, attack and defending. It is an opportunity for players to receive coaching by professional player and local, Sam Poolman. 

An opportunity for any aspiring netballer to get the extra edge in their training and progress through the ASPIRE pathway. 

This program is hosted by your local Association.

Sam Poolman 


Sam Poolman is much more than just an elite athlete. She is an inspired leader who is passionate about being a positive role model for the community which has supported her throughout her career. 


Sam has consistently earned leadership positions from a young age, due to her passion for driving positive team culture and her ability to inspire and gain respect from her team mates, coaches and management.

Upon her return from four years playing professionally in Adelaide, Sam was struck with the realization that local netballers in the Hunter region required more support in order to progress to an elite level.


She was driven to devise a solution and create her ASPIRE Netball program.

Working closely with the Hunter Academy of Sport (of which Sam is a graduate), ASPIRE provides a range of programs for different ages and skills sets – all focused on helping the next generation of local netballers to develop their skills and find pathways to a future in Netball.


Interest in ASPIRE grew rapidly which was reflected in the number of girls eager to learn from Sam, all who quickly signed up to be part of her program. The opportunity to be mentored and taught by their role model was too much to pass up for many aspiring young Hunter netballers.


In the process, Sam has reinvigorated local young female athletes to achieve, gain confidence and progress through the Netball NSW pathways.


“For the majority of my teenage years my parents had to drive me up and down the freeway to Sydney, to give me the opportunity to realize my dreams. I just want to make sure that our young Hunter region netballers have access to a high level of netball coaching and mentoring. This is my way of giving back to a community that I grew up in and love.” Sam Poolman

Leigh Waddington

Ex Professional Netballer and Wellbeing 

Leigh has a passion for supporting young people with their wellbeing and her love of Netball. Previously a professional Netballer herself with the Adelaide Thunderbirds 2007,2012-2015, a multiple SA state representative and SASI scholarship holder. She is high regarded by her coaches and team mates and also had the opportunity to Captain many sides over her career and Vice Captain of the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Leigh has developed and facilitated programs in the areas of health and wellbeing, leadership and culture building; these programs being more specifically targeted at netballers and the barriers they may face in reaching their sporting goals. Over the last 6 years she have worked with school students, youth academy groups, metropolitan teams, premier league squads and individual netballers. 

Leigh is now providing a wellbeing program online to ASPIRE netball and ASPIRE strive athletes. A fantastic opportunity for these athletes to learn off someone who is experienced and passionate both on and off the court. 


"The Aspire program has provided me with an opportunity to combined my two passions, my love of netball and supporting young people with their wellbeing. I know how important it is to have a healthy mind and how this can support young netballers to reach their full potential and achieve their netball dreams” Leigh Waddington

Specialist Coaches

ASPIRE netball and ASPIRE strive athletes are given the opportunity to be coached by Specialist Coaches within the program. 

From S&C, Physio and coaching specialists in their field the athletes are taken the entire session and given plenty of knowledge. What a great opportunity to take their game to the next level!

In 2018 athletes have already have specialist sessions within their playing positions and even a session with the current NSWIS and NSW U/17s State Netball Coach. 

To be training with current professional netballer's on a regular basis is every netballer's dream!

Jess Harrison 


Both ASPIRE netball and ASPIRE strive athletes are fortunate to have Jess around trainings and support when it comes to injury, injury prevention and recovery. She has a passion for Netball and has experience at both regional and state level. Jess works first hand with the athletes and also provides content via video for the girls to work on away from the program. 

"The best part of netball is actually being out on court playing! The work that I do as a physio with injury prevention, prehab, rehab, strengthening and recovery allows you to be able to stay on court and perform at your best. Working with the Aspire program allows me to help athletes from my home region learn how to look after their bodies in the same way that those at the highest level in netball do." Jess Harrison 


 Jess Dorn  


All three Aspire programs have access to Podiatrist Jess Dorn. Previously a passionate and dedicated netballer herself. Jess represented Charlestown Netball Association from a young age and then progressed through the pathway to reach State level and even had a Scholarship at the NSWIS. 

Jess suffered from an injury in her lower limbs that at times made it hard for her to train and play. With her knowledge, passion and experiance shes commited to helping athletes stay on court. 

"Having been in the same position as all these athletes and being hindered by injuries in my netball days. Being part of the Aspire team allows me to mix the sport I know best with my knowledge of the lower limb. My passion is to work with the girls and be there to make sure they stay on the court. Netball packs a punch on the legs, knees, ankles and feet and I’ve experienced first hand the effects of Podiatry care to keep me on the court. The beauty of Aspire is being able to work in conjunction with Sam and Physio Jess who are equally as passionate about keeping these girls on court." Jess Dorn

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