“It was great to see the local talent, though I was expecting more players,” says Atkinson.
“My understanding is that there is a real desire for local players to be selected.
“However, players need to make themselves available for this to happen.”
During last week’s trials, local players vying for a spot in the national team were put through their paces with a series of fitness tests.
Players were put through the yo-yo test, vertical jumps and a press-up test to gauge their fitness.
“The yo-yo test especially gives trainers an indication of how aerobically fit the players are,” says Atkinson.
“The higher their aerobic fitness, the better they will be able to maintain match play over the length of the game.”
Atkinson says the vertical jump test indicates how high players can jump, while the press-up test is about upper body strength and endurance.
“Some of the players had never experienced this testing before Tuesday. There is some work to be done aerobically, but we have two-and-a-half months and if the players are up to the challenge and with the natural skill that was displayed, the final team will be exciting.”
Atkinson acknowledges that with the isolation of the islands and distribution of players across the Cooks and New Zealand, bringing the players together will be the biggest challenge.
“The biggest challenge is going to be bringing the players together to work on our on court game plans and culture.”
She adds that there are plans to hold two 48-hour camps. Normally a coach would see their players for a couple of week-long camps.
“We don't have that luxury, so I will concentrate on what we can do in the shortest space of time,” says Atkinson.
“Communication with players and how they train away from the normal team environment is going to be vital.”
A trial will be held in Auckland within the next two to three weeks, with the exact time and location to be confirmed early this week.
With higher interest from Australian-based players, Netball Cook Islands will look to hold trials in Brisbane to view the Cook Islands players based there. These trials will also be held within the next two to three weeks.