Over 100 Western region athletes and coaches attended the 2023/24 Western Region Academy of Sport Athlete Orientation.

Held at the Bathurst Charles Sturt University Campus on the weekend of October 21st and 22nd, the event marked the commencement of the athletics, basketball, cycling, future stars, golf, high performance, hockey and triathlon programs.

Saturday began with a psychological education session by Dr. Gordon Spence, who worked with athletes, coaches and parents to discuss mental toughness and energy management.

Dr. Spence showed how good energy management helps build resilience in the face of pressure that can result from performance setbacks and accumulated success. Those in attendance discussed the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual/meaning factors that support sustained high performance and what choices can help establish positive behaviours.

Following Dr. Spence was a presentation from WRAS Programs and Strength and Conditioning Manager Dan Bunyan. Dan delivered an overview of strength and conditioning, common misconceptions within the strength and conditioning industry and an overview of the programs WRAS athletes will undertake throughout their scholarship period with WRAS.

Athletes worked through a series of strength, power, fitness and movement tests with the assistance of Charles Sturt University Exercise Science Strength and Conditioning Interns.

Media training provided an opportunity for our athletes to understand how to contact and feel confident talking with media outlets and use social media skills to optimise their online presence. With 7 News Central West in attendance, several of our athletes took the chance to practice these skills and gain practical experience in being interviewed.

Brandon Martin (2014 lone star WRAS graduate) and Holly Simmons (local athlete) ran a mentoring session with the athletics and future stars programs to discuss the importance of opportunities for personal development available outside sporting pathways.

Sunday saw the basketball, hockey and triathlon squads all hold their first team training sessions.

Reflecting on the orientation weekend WRAS Executive Officer, Candice Boggs was positive about this year’s cohort.

‘It is always great to host the athletes, squad staff and parents for orientation to commence the WRAS season. It’s a great opportunity for all athletes, parents, and coaches to come together as WRAS sets the scene for what’s ahead with each of our programs.’

‘Looking across the athletes in attendance over the weekend, there is tremendous talent throughout every program. Under the guidance of the very knowledgeable and dedicated WRAS coaches these athletes are in for a great program ahead.’