The U16 age group has an important place within the development of young players, as they enter the ‘train to develop’ stage. Children become capable of implementation of feedback and the foundation of all basic skill is cemented. Players will need to keep polishing basic techniques and need to be challenged with more complex techniques and decision making to further their development. Players in the ‘train to develop’ stage need to learn to train more deliberate and need to start making the translation from training to games. To help make that translation, practice games, tournaments and festivals become significant tools that allow to deliberately prioritize participation, development and growth.
In 2022 WHA will offer a holistic U16 development program in term 1 and term 2 leading in to an U16 Tournament as an extended development opportunity in the July holidays. The Northern Region Associations will run an U16 Festival in the October holidays.
Talent and early ability at this age are no guarantees for future success. Taking late bloomers and the relative age effect into account, WHA aims to provide more players at this age an opportunity for holistic development. Although the U16 Development Program has a more inclusive nature, players will still need to show commitment and the appropriate attitude to be part of the program. Players will need to demonstrate the physical and technical abilities that are required to keep up with the desired level of the program.
In order to register for the 2024 WHA U16 Development Program players need to be born in 2008 or 2009.