WA footballers kick goals with coaching collaboration

A unique partnership between Notre Dame and the West Australian Football Commission is allowing Exercise and Sport Science students to gain significant practical experience with the newly-established Women's Football Academy.

28 February 2014

Staff and students from The University of Notre Dame Australia's School of Health Sciences are applying innovative fitness testing regimes and biomechanical kicking analyses to ensure Western Australia's young female football stars have the best chance of success at a national level.

Through a unique partnership between Notre Dame and the West Australian Football Commission, Exercise and Sport Science students can now gain significant practical experience with the newly-established Women's Football Academy.

On Saturday 15 February 2014, 60 of the State's brightest football hopefuls were assessed in basic AFL Draft Camp tests including speed, agility, vertical jump, sit and reach, and the Beep Test.

Players also completed a kicking analysis with Notre Dame's Biomechanics expert, Dr Luke Hopper. The analysis involved filming the kick from the front and side of each player using specialised slow motion cameras. This video footage is then assessed by sports scientists and, as a result, can be used by coaches and other team staff to improve their players' kicking techniques.

Follow up testing will take place in May to see whether players have shown signs of improvement.

"Now that I have worked with athletes in this environment, my interest in the study area has heightened. I cannot wait to analyse the film and provide feedback to the talented football players," Exercise and Sport Science student, Brad Goddard, said.

"From this experience, I have definitely realised that I would like to become more involved in the biomechanical side of fitness testing in a variety of sports."

Female High Performance Manager at the West Australian Football Commission, Alison Moore, said she was impressed with the commitment and professionalism of Notre Dame's students and teaching staff who assisted in the fitness testing.

"Over the past two years, the West Australian Football Commission has engaged the services of Notre Dame's Health Sciences students and we hope this relationship can continue now and into the future in line with the exceptional development of WA's football talent," Ms Moore said.

Exercise and Sport Science student, Stefanie Italiano, said the experience provided her with a great opportunity to apply learned theory in a real-life scenario.

"Working with the Women's Football Academy has allowed me to further understand the important components of fitness testing – speed, agility, endurance and vertical jump – and why they are so important for young footballers to perfect," Stefanie said.

"Notre Dame has been fantastic in opening future career doors for Exercise and Sport Science students."

Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences, Ben Piggott, said the University was delighted to be able to provide its students with the opportunity to work with the best players in WA women's football.

"This relationship between Notre Dame and the West Australian Football Commission allows our Exercise and Sport Science students to be involved in the program as part of their practicum placement, giving them invaluable industry experience," Mr Piggott said.

MEDIA CONTACT
Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093; leigh.dawson@nd.edu.au