What is the Emerging Warriors Programme?

The Emerging Warriors programme was launched by Netball NI in November 2020 to support and develop performance netballers in our pathway who are based in Northern Ireland. This exciting programme reflects the evolving dynamics and needs of performance sport, and will directly impact on our Performance Targets within the Netball NI Strategy 2020-25.

The purpose of the programme is to give emerging talent, identified in the Northern Ireland performance pathway, exposure to the training environment required of senior squad athletes; whilst helping Northern Ireland based Senior athletes access a full time training programme.
It will provide regular and consistent training on a weekly basis to support NI based emerging talent and senior athletes. Emerging athletes refers to athletes from within the NI performance pathway who demonstrate the talent, potential, drive and commitment to one day play senior international netball for the Northern Ireland Warriors. They will benefit from significant investments in their physical and skill development as they progress through the underage ranks, ultimately closing the gap between underage and senior level performance netball.

Athletes will attend 3 sessions per week, incorporating on court skill work and gym based strength and conditioning work. Progress and development will be monitored by the Emerging Warriors Coaching Team of Clare Winning, Caroline Davis and Mike Bentley; and will be overseen by NI Senior Head Coach, Dan Ryan.

Who is it for?

Emerging talent from within the NI performance pathway aged 15+ who have the potential to represent NI at senior level in the future, and crucially, who can fully commit to all aspects of the training programme.

NNI sought feedback from clubs and coaches around who they thought would be suitable for the Emerging Warriors before deciding on an initial list of athletes. Additional athletes can be added in at any time if deemed suitable by the program staff.

We also recognise that there are talented netballers who will not be able to fully commit to this type of programme due to other commitments such as other sports or work. Dual athletes have a flair and unique skillset, and have been the backbone of the NI international squads over the years. They, and other netballers will still be involved in underage national squads, receiving the support, training development and competition opportunities of those squads and continue to progress through the pathway as before.

These netballers make up the inaugral Emerging Warriors group. There will also be an opportunity for more athletes to be added to the Emerging Warriors group throughout the course of the season and beyond.

What about the NI Underage National Squads or Club netball?

This program does not replace any current pathway programs – it is a new addition which we hope will add great value to our performance athletes.
The national squads will run alongside the Emerging Warriors Programme, and athletes will be managed carefully if they are in both groups. Netballers will be expected to prioritise Emerging Warriors training over club training, and most club matches if there are clashes to ensure the maximum benefit of the programme.

For more information on the programme, please contact Noleen (performancepathway@netballni.org)