An athletic program in Broome is recognising kids with sports talent and helping them to develop their skills to achieve athletic success.
The Broome Talent Development Program selects kids 13 years old and over who have been identified to have athletic potential to compete at regional, state or national level and demonstrate a desire to succeed.
The program is a key focus of the Broome Sports Association and partner Athlete X gym of Yangebup is supporting the program with gym equipment, fitness motivation and personal growth.
Athlete X director and coach Mel O’Neill-King said the program is designed to give kids access to high-level equipment and coaching in the field of strengthening and conditioning.
“Kids that are seen as talented kids by their sporting club, whether it be football, netball, cricket or all sports across the Kimberley, their sporting club puts them up for selection. They go through a selection process and then they get to be part of the Broome Sports Association.”
Once into the program, the year long course gives the kids strength and conditioning courses throughout the school term.
“Four times a year, we fly from Perth to Broome and deliver camps and workshops where they get given access to all different aspects of strength and conditioning. Things like speed work, strength work, agility … all things they might get to do if they get into a higher level sporting team, like the Western Australian Institute of Sport or AFL or cricket,” Mr O’Neill-King said.
Gym equipment donated by Chasing Better Wod Supplies was sent up to the recreation centre by Athlete X, including weightlifting equipment, pull-up bars, speed and timing gates, all which total more than $10,000.
The President of Broome Sports Association Mike Doyle said the government funded program is trying to bridge the gap between regional kids and city kids by providing them with coaching and equipment for a high-level athlete.
“We’re up in Broome and it’s obviously quite remote and a lot of our athletes in their junior programs … there is only a few teams so there’s not a huge competition and opportunities to develop further are limited,” he said.
The program has two sessions per week around certain blocks of training, followed by a camp where they take the skills they’ve learned from training and apply it to that camp.
Strettan Dearle is a coach based in Broome who has been coaching kids for the last eight weeks.
He said they are trying to deliver a high-level of skills for kids and their chosen sport, primarily focusing on strength and conditioning.
“Getting the kids to move in correct movement patterns, but in doing so not pushing them beyond what they’re capable of doing,” he said.
“We’re able to give the kids this kind of level of coaching, they don’t have to be moved or relocate or fly to other places in order to get it.”
Shire President of Broome Harold Tracey said it’s important to have a youth program because of Broome’s demographic.
“There is a lot of kids who don’t have the opportunity to get involved or have access to programs such as this,” he said.
He said sport provides an opportunity to mix with others and has a positive mental health aspect.
Since the program started, many kids have gone on to win state trials in swimming and talented football players have entered the WAFL stream.
“It’s a good testament that the program is helping these kids transfer what they learn with us into their sporting careers,” Mr O’Neill-King said.