Athletic DNA Week

This week celebrated the DNA attribute ‘athletic’ with a number of special events and presentations. Parents and players can find these resources below.

Female athlete menstrual health

Football Australia’s Matildas Sport Scientist, Georgia Brown, presented on the menstrual cycle, how it impacts performance, and strategies for female athletes.

The presentation can be viewed below.

Strength development

NWSF’s Athletic Development Lead, Nick Fierro, presented on the importance of strength training for young players, and how NWS Spirit integrates this within the football environment.

Matchday nutrition (Youth League)

NWSF’s Head of Nutrition, Jess Fell, presented on how young players can best prepare themselves for matchday.

Multisport festivals

During the week, our Athletic Development Staff ran special multisport festivals to celebrate the contribution a diverse range of sport and movement can make to a players development.

A growing body of research suggests that participation in multiple sports during youth development can significantly benefit aspiring elite soccer players. Engaging in various activities, like basketball and handball, has been shown to promote well-rounded athleticism. For instance, Miller et al. (2020) found that basketball drills significantly improved vertical jump height in young athletes. This enhanced jumping ability can translate to powerful headers on the pitch. Additionally, Petersen et al. (2018) demonstrated that participation in sports like tennis improves hand-eye coordination, and suggested it improved players ability to track the flight of a moving ball, which is transferrable to being able to accurately head the ball in football, such as to attack corner kicks to score goals.

This diversified training not only fosters a broader range of motor skills but also reduces the risk of overuse injuries common in single-sport specialization, as evidenced by Faude et al. (2017). This holistic approach to physical development, supported by scientific evidence, underpinned our desire to showcase various sports in the multisport festival.

Womens Youth League player Isla Devlin, who has played multiple sports during her childhood and adolescence, including representing state teams in touch football, shared her thoughts on how multisports strengthened her football development.

Playing other sports such as touch and athletics benefit my football by helping me strengthen other muscles that I don’t use in football while also making me think about a completely different sport further stimulating my brain. I have found that when I play touch it means I get a break from football by doing something else that I love but also leaves me really wanting to go back and play soccer when I go to training because I have missed it. This is a great way to make sure you don’t overload yourself with one sport and get bored. Doing athletics meant that I was able to improve my running technique meaning I was getting faster, which overall improved my football because I was able to run faster. Touch has helped me physically because my body uses different muscles which evens my work load out a bit. It means that I am not constantly using the same muscles playing soccer. Something specific touch has helped me with running backwards because I have to do it consistently in touch but then when I have to use it in soccer I am able to do it quicker. Overall playing different sports such as touch and athletics has benefited me mentally and physically in football.

Isla Devlin