Specialised program to boost sport prospects

COACH TEAM: From left, Whyalla Alliance Sports Program Specialist Coaches Phil Cash (soccer), Waylon Nielsen (football) and Michael Quinn (basketball).
COACH TEAM: From left, Whyalla Alliance Sports Program Specialist Coaches Phil Cash (soccer), Waylon Nielsen (football) and Michael Quinn (basketball).

There's a buzz going around at Edward John Eyre High School (EJEHS), and it's all about WASP.

That being the Whyalla Alliance Sports Program, which will see EJEHS work with the University of South Australia (UniSA) and four specialised coaches focusing on football, soccer, basketball and netball.

The Year 9-12 program has been running for three years but the curriculum has now been re-invigorated with the help of staff and student feedback.

Topics covered in the curriculum include exercise physiology, sports psychology, nutrition analysis, sports injuries, coaching principles, skill acquisition and much more.

Students chose a sport to focus on during the program, which can be one of the four main sports or an alternative option, and work with the specialist coaches to improve their skills.

Coordinator Sean Sheedy said career paths available from the program included jobs such as PE Teacher, physiotherapy, dietitian, exercise physiologist and more.

"There's been lots of interest, we've got just over 50 kids involved now. They have all met the criteria to be in the specialist program here at Eyre High School," he said.

"We have students from across the Alliance from Stuart High, Whyalla High, Eyre High and Samaritan College participating, it's going to be a really good opportunity for our kids."

Year 11 and 12 students will also get the chance to participate in the High Performance Exercise Sports Science program at UniSA being taught by third-year exercise students.

Exercise Physiologist Alison Burford will be supervising the university students as they deliver the program to WASP students in Whyalla over two weeks.

Whyalla students will then travel down to Adelaide where they will make use of the university facilities through activities such as underwater weighing, known as the 'gold standard' of body composition testing.

"It's a way to get really accurate data on your body composition, it's a unique way for athletes to track the changes to their body," Ms Burford said.

Specialist Basketball Coach Michael Quinn said he was looking forwarding to give back to the community through coaching students.

"If the kids need any extra help I'm more than happy to do some one-on-one training or sit down and help them with their book work," he said.