Part two of our Australian Junior Coaches Series we catch up with Women’s Born 2002 Head Coach Rebecca Rippon to find out what’s happening with the program.
REBECCA RIPPON – HEAD COACH BORN 2002 (WOMEN)
Rebecca Rippon is a dual Olympian representing Australia at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics Games where she was part of Australia’s bronze medal winning team in 2008.
Since finishing her decade long career as part of the Aussie Stingers which included Olympic success and a 2006 FINA World Cup gold medal, Rippon has since used her knowledge and passion for the sport as a coach.
Her coaching experiences vary from local teams right through to state based and junior national teams.
She is currently the New South Wales Institute of Sport Men’s and Women’s Assistant Coach which involves shaping program strategy, driving performance, and engaging athletes and coaches.
How do you feel about your appointment to the role of Head Coach of the Australian Women’s B2002 team?
I am really excited to be working with the youth in this country. I believe we have a lot of players who love the game and are willing to do the hard work required to play for Australia.
With this opportunity I will be doing my best to help develop the younger generation not only to become very good in their age groups, but also to help prepare athletes who can go on to play for the Aussie Stingers in the future.
What have you been up to since your appointment to the role?
I have been looking at players across Australia for quite some time and chatting to coaches in different states about their players, which I will continue to do so in the lead up to the first squad selection and beyond.
My plan involves having players across all age groups 2001 and younger involved in a squad rather than just focusing on a single age group.
It is different to what we have done in the past, but I am aiming to create an environment which breeds healthy competition for positions and will show coaching staff the players who are willing to do whatever it takes to play at the highest level.
A strong group will push the girls to be better players and will also allow us to create a solid culture across all youth and junior players.
When will squads be selected and what is coming up?
An initial squad will be announced in the coming months. I have plans for a camp later this year or early next year and I am working through the national calendar to pinpoint the best times we can run camps with the aim to do as much as possible across the school holiday period.
I want this squad to be something that people can move into even if they miss out initially. If a player does the hard work and plays well then they may be given an opportunity at any stage.
What priorities have been / will be set for your specific program?
A lot of our players are doing a lot of water polo sessions between their clubs, schools and other development programs but we need to coordinate them all to ensure they are getting a better balance with strong swim and gym components.
I am aiming to have more time in training camps and high performance environments. Through regular trainings in a challenging setting and being surrounded by players who are training with the same commitment, it gives our athletes the best chance to be competitive internationally.
I also want to educate these players on what it means to be an elite athlete. Athletes have to make many choices, sacrifices and struggles and deal with disappointments. The athletes who understand this are the ones who will succeed.
I am passionate about water polo in Australia and I am keen to bring my coaching style and training techniques to the national system. I am looking forward to trying a few new approaches to selections, training, expectations at camps and to the people involved with the team.