The new programme will mirror the training that is on offer for Australian-based Cook Islanders and could help more locally-based players break into the national side.
Netball Cook Islands country coordinator John Glassie said that the purpose of the academy is to identify and develop talented and hardworking Cook Islands netballers and give them a pathway towards selection for the national squad.
The successful youngsters will also be the beneficiaries of coaching from a new foundation manual that is not even being taught in New Zealand at present.
In November, the Queensland, Western Australia and Victorian Cook Islands academy squads will travel to Rarotonga for the Netball in Paradise tournament and will team up with the home-based netball academy.
The four academies will combine and work with the coaches from the Australian states and Cook Islands in preparation for the U21 World Youth Cup held in Fiji 2021.
Among the coaches will be former Silver Fern Ana Noovao.
“This is going to be a great year for Cook Islands netball as the academies from Australia will be playing in the International Netball in Paradise tournament,” Glassie said.
“It takes years of training to become a professional athlete, and that’s what this is for.”
This is something that Glassie has been working on since he was hired three years ago, and he is over the moon that it is finally underway.
He was also encouraged by the discussions last week about a new foundation coaching manual that was the main topic of a video conference held with members of the New Zealand Netball development system, as well as his counterpart in Fiji.
National manager of coaching development Tania Karauria, national junior programme manager Nicola Jones and Fiji Netball country coordinator Una Rokoura all participated in the meeting.
Glassie said that each country will use the same foundation manual, but how it is implemented will be different.
“So far we’re pretty happy with how things are going, and we feel like we are headed in the right direction.”
Registration for the trials will open at 8.30 on Saturday morning, and the programme will begin at 9am.
To qualify, the participants must be between 14-18 years old.
Twenty places will be available for players from Rarotonga, and 10 for those from the outer islands.