Our inaugural group of 24 students for the Walford High Performance Sport Academy commenced in Term 1. Our Academy athletes are made up from various sporting backgrounds including Cricket, Australian Rules Football, Softball, Equestrian, Water Polo, Ice Skating, and Hockey to name a few. It is a testament to the wealth of talent that many of our students possess at Walford and we are particularly excited to see what our Academy athletes achieve in the future.

Term 1 has established the foundations of the program whereby all students have undergone musculoskeletal screenings with our Lead Physiotherapist, Tim Bass, and subsequent baseline strength and profiling with our Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mia Lundquist. These assessments are designed to help identify any areas of concern that may indicate an increased risk of injury, whereby subsequent programming through our S&C Program, can significantly reduce both the incidence and severity of injuries that may occur. Our baseline profiling and testing then allows a deeper representation of athletes in relation to metrics including; rate of speed development, power, and neuromuscular strength, which can also help with the above, but also provide a point of comparison as athletes continue in the program and are reassessed.

Throughout the term all athletes undertake at least one S&C Session per week, which includes one dedicated session for our Academy athletes. The purpose of these sessions is to improve athletic performance, which relates to improving an athletes’ speed, strength, and power. A secondary product of these sessions is to then reduce the risk and incidence of injuries through training. These athletes have commenced their initial programs whereby in Term 2 these programs will transition to an individualised design tailored to their sporting background, weekly/monthly commitments, and current training loads.

Our first workshop of the Academy focussed on Injury Self-management and Injury Prevention led by Tim Bass. Within this active workshop students were introduced to the basics of how to roll/trigger point areas of the body. Students were shown various techniques for different parts of the body while utilising different pieces of equipment such as a foam roller, trigger ball, and massage gun. These tools and techniques are designed to help in preparation and recovery from training and competition. Many of these techniques and exercises will be individualised for students dependent on their sports, but also from what has been identified and recommended from musculoskeletal screenings.

The second workshop of term was within Performance Psychology with our Lead Psychologist, Emma Scharkie. This workshop was themed an Introduction to Sports Psychology and High Performance Habits. Students developed a better understanding on what sports psychology is, factors that affect performance, how sports psychology can help sporting performance, and tools to develop a growth mindset and how to identify and start implementing helpful habits. Many of these concepts will be revisited in their next workshop in Term 2 which will be focussed on Managing Nerves.

The final workshop of Term 1 was in the domain of Sports Nutrition, facilitated by our Lead Nutritionist, Nat von Bertouch, which addressed the Basics of Nutrition and Pre/Post Competition Fuelling and Recovery. In this workshop students began to learn the basics of sports nutrition and why nutrition impacts performance both in a negative and positive way. Students brainstormed and planned different ideas that they can implement in how to prepare snacks and meals that can be used for pre training/competition as well as during, and recovery meals for post training/competition. An active cooking experience for our students will be one of their next challenges as they put some of these ideas into practice.

Ahead in Term 2 students will be undertaking workshops in Leadership Development, Strength and Conditioning, Sports Nutrition, and Performance Psychology. These workshops will be continuing their holistic development as part of the Walford High Performance Academy, and for many of our students they will be entering their peak times of their sporting seasons.


Jamie Bahnisch
Head of Sport and Coaching