The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown period has meant dramatic changes for every facet of our lives. Sport is no different, and while there may no Netball Superleague, netball club training or televised sport on at the moment, Wales’ elite netball athletes have been quick to adapt to the ‘new normal.’

This week, the Wales senior squad met up for a training session via Zoom. Dialling in from living rooms, gardens, offices and parks across Wales, the athletes were as keen as ever to get stuck into their training regime. Wearing their official O’Neills training kit, it was clear that the players were maintaining their exceptionally high standards as the session was introduced by assistant coach Jenna Adamson. Before getting underway, the squad was also introduced to new assistant coach, Sarah Lewis and it was also great to see Wales’ physio and analysis staff at the session too.

The order of the day was a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session, led by none other than Wales defender, Leila Thomas. Thomas had prepared a demanding session featuring rapid and relentless sets of squad twists, mountain climbers, burpees and donkey kicks – to name but a few! It was an intense evening’s training, but the squad took to it with relish and it was great to see senior squad members offering plenty of encouragement and guidance to the newer members of the team.

Speaking after the session, Thomas said: “It was lovely to have the whole team back together in their red Welsh vests for a sweaty HIIT session.

“My session focussed on short explosive intervals to replicate the type of repetitive workloads at high-intensity that we encounter on the netball court.

“It’s surprising the positive impact training as a whole team gives, it really encourages you to push and compete with each other to bring the best out of your teammates. We really enjoyed the session and will be making our Monday team HIIT sessions a regular slot with a different squad member leading each week!”

Thomas’ team-mate, Clare Jones, also shared her thoughts on how the squad was using technology to overcome the lockdown. She said: “As a player participating in a zoom session, I think it’s great we’ve got the technology to be able to come together and participate as a squad.

“We’re a squad that thrives from getting the best out of each other so do be able to do a session together to push and encourage one another is really positive and helps to continue develop the group cohesion that we had begun building with the new team!”