SAASTA Students rub shoulders with sporting elite

SAASTA: Students spent the morning learning valuable skills on the basketball court from Adelaide Lightning's Chelsea Brooks and the Adelaide 36ers' Sam Johns.
SAASTA: Students spent the morning learning valuable skills on the basketball court from Adelaide Lightning's Chelsea Brooks and the Adelaide 36ers' Sam Johns.

Students from around the Far North region have spent the last couple of days picking up tips and tricks from the sporting elite.

The South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy (SAASTA) has held the annual North West Workshop at Central oval in the lead up to the SAASTA Shield. 

The subject has been developed to follow on from the Aboriginal Power Cup and like its predecessor, the subject culminates in a two-day sporting carnival where academies will compete in a round-robin format to claim the Shield. 

In the lead up to the carnival, the students receive advice, mentoring and coaching from industry experts to develop their skills in a variety of sports, recreational and health activities.

Manager of SAASTA Andrew Smith said the subject is about more than kicking around a footy and shooting some hoops.

“We have got a real focus on using the latest sport science equipment,” Mr Smith said.

“So things like heart rate monitors and polar loops – the students all use those to collect data around their own performance and then when they go back to school they collate that data, analyse it and learn from the whole experience.”

Mr Smith emphasised the importance of having major sporting clubs involved in the SAASTA program.

“The students really look up to these players as role models, they aspire to be like them,” he said.

“These elite athletes conduct workshops with the students that build their skill level, but also their comradery  and the opportunity to join together and learn skills.”

Students spent this week rubbing shoulders with Andrew McLeod of the Adelaide Football Club, Sam Johns from the Adelaide 36ers and Chelsea Brook from Adelaide Lightning. 

South Australian Premier League’s most recent Halls medallist and a country girl herself, Chelsea Brook was quick to praise the program.

“The program they run, the way it’s run is just so incredible,” she said.

“They way they can bring all of the Aboriginal kids together ... for them it’s something to look forward to.”

Port Augusta Secondary School students Ethan Johnson and Amelia Mckenzie have been inspired by the experience.

“It’s good to see them come to our community and get involved with us. It’s someone to look up to,” Amelia said.

The students revelled in the opportunity to socialise with kids from outside their own community.

“You get to interact with other kids outside of your school which is the best part and we have made a lot of friends while being in this program,” Ethan said.

“Then when you go to SAASTA Shield you have all these friends you can meet up with and just have a good time and enjoy sport. It’s a great experience,” Amelia added.