NIAS @SportUNE

2020 University of New England Life Skills Education Program for NIAS Athletes

Guest blog & content provided by NIAS

Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) was established in 1992 to identify and prepare talented sportspeople in the Northern Inland region to reach their maximum potential, on and off the field. NIAS is one of 11 regional academies of sport in New South Wales and is located in Tamworth, providing talent development programs, support and activities to sport in the region. This includes an annual event where NIAS, which brings its athletes a Life Skills Education Weekend in collaboration with UNE.

This year NIAS is excited to be partnering with the UNE Life and University of New England (UNE) to bring this opportunity to our athletes. The event this year will be hosted at the incredible SportUNE facilities in Armidale, giving our athletes the opportunity to immerse themselves into the wider community and experience UNE life.

This event will run across the third weekend in March and will include two full days of activities and very valuable guest speakers. The event will commence as soon as the athletes arrive on the Saturday morning (21st) and will conclude on the Sunday afternoon (22nd).

The event gives NIAS athletes an opportunity to learn about a range of important topics in the sports industry including psychology, physiotherapy, the media around sport, and the importance of nutrition (especially for athletes).  On top of this all athletes will be able to engage in sport-specific fitness testing, squad training, and the NIAS Challenge.

The athletes attending represent a range of different sports from programs that NIAS currently has running, including AFL, athletics, basketball, football, golf, hockey, netball, cycling and mountain biking. There are a handful of athletes that also compete in the Lonestar program for individual sports such as equestrian, archery, gymnastics, swimming and BMX. NIAS has a development program for rugby league, rugby union, and tennis. Whilst the rugby union and tennis applications come later in the year, the rugby league applications have kicked off.

In the lead up to the UNE Life Skills Education Weekend, NIAS will have their athletes working hard during training weekends. NIAS had their basketball athletes attend a tour in Sydney on the 14th– 16th February where they enjoyed training sessions with former National Basketball League coach Rex Nottage, played their own matches, and attended a National Basketball League match live.

NIAS Netball

Pathways and Opportunities

NIAS provides opportunities for their athletes so they can develop their knowledge and skills to help reach their goals.

It is wonderful seeing the relationship NIAS has built with UNE grow and support young people in our community. James Cooper, NIAS

Building these relationships and developing events such as the UNE Life Skills Education weekend, means the athletes are exposed to significant opportunities now and can open pathways to their future.

SportUNE has major sporting facilities and supports students in both their studies and in their sporting endeavors.  By exposing athletes to this environment, it gives them a taste of life at university, educates them about UNE Sports Academy and the Elite Athlete Programs offered. It also lets them know they are supported, whilst gives them a pathway to continue with their sporting developments and receiving a higher education. When athletes are accepted into NIAS, they are provided with ample opportunities to develop and excel in their chosen sport and it is even better when they can be shown ways to continue growing in sport and in their education by having the capability of engaging in programs such as SportUNE


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