For the U18 age group the training focus shifts from ‘train to develop’ to ‘train to compete’. Athletes enter this stage based on individual commitment and performance results, as well as having achieved the objectives of the ‘train to develop’ stage. They participate in year-round high-intensity individual-, event- and position-specific training within a high-quality training environment. Athletes will now have to learn to perform skills under a variety of competitive conditions and will be challenged to compete at a national level to develop competition skills and abilities. Although winning games is a pursuable goal, the focus during games and tournaments must still see development and growth go over winning!
Due to the relevance of competition at the ‘train to compete’ stage and the ambition to have meaningful and competitive competition, WHA will select an U18 team to represent Waikato during practice games, competition and/or at tournaments. A major part of competitive and performance sports is learning to deal with set back and setting realistic goals and expectations. WHA expects all selected players to participate in games (including finals) but does not expect players to be given equal minutes.
The Wintec U18 Development Program will provide weekly trainings in term 1 and 2, with additional strength and conditioning programming, gym access and life balance workshops and guidance in term 1 and 2. The Wintec U18 Development trainings are not mandatory, as they are there to serve the athletes best interest. Term 2 campaign team trainings leading in to National Tournament will be mandatory.
In order to register for the WHA U18 Development Program in 2021, players need to be born in 2003 or 2004.