30 Aug 2023

Sports Academy set for 2024 take off

Cobram Anglican Grammar School is at the dawn of an exciting new era. We are gearing up to launch its inaugural Sports Academy in 2024. The Academy will assist the school’s talented rising sports stars to reach their full potential in their chosen sport.

The seed for creating a Sports Academy was planted last year at Presentation Day, in which 28 students were recipients of sports awards for making it to state level of competition or higher in their chosen discipline – underscoring the scope of athletic talent within the school.

Academy members will be in astute hands, with the program being headed up by the school’s Head of Sport, Mr Jon O’Dwyer. Mr O’Dwyer has 23 years’ worth of teaching experience and has been involved in the cut and thrust of elite sport at different levels having played football for the Sydney Swans Under 19s, as well as being involved with the Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy in a coaching capacity for the past 11 years, looking after players from the Western Riverina region.

Mr O’Dwyer said the program would initially be open to students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10, and would be suitable for young athletes currently playing competitively and doing well in their chosen sport.

The framework of the Academy means it will be embedded into the school’s secondary school curriculum as an elective option. This will see participants complete training sessions before and after school, as well as theory work in timetabled classes.

The core focus will centre on general skill development, strength and conditioning, nutrition and from a theoretical point of view, sports psychology and physiology. In this elite environment, students will be equipped with the foundational skills and knowledge required of them to prosper in their chosen sport.

Mr O’Dwyer said the school would utilise a model where it leverages strategic partnerships with reputable sporting organisations and coaches.

“Our long-term focus is to build strong partnerships with elite coaches and organisations to ensure the Academy members get the required level of exposure to the specific sport they are competing in,” he said.

Another factor which has inspired the school to launch the Academy is accessibility. Mr O’Dwyer is cognisant of the heightened challenges budding athletes face if they live in a rural community.

“Being based in a rural community like we are, it is extremely hard to achieve sporting dreams due to limited resources, the travel involved for families and access to elite coaching and pathways. That’s where we really want to step in and provide these students with opportunities to develop in an elite environment. Ultimately it will be up to them to see how far they want to take it,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

Looking ahead, Mr O’Dwyer can’t help but get excited about what the Academy may be able to produce in the future – not just for the school, but for the broader local community. 

“Gazing into the crystal ball, it’s our ambition that we will eventually see students from the Academy go on to reach a professional level of sport. It’s super exciting to be in a position where we can help develop young athletes from our local region who harbour big aspirations and dreams. We want to grow the Academy into something that people from our local community can be really proud of,” Mr O’Dwyer said.