The n Diamonds are using indoor GPS technology to remain the hunted as they defy the trend of taking it one game at a time to look ahead to defending their Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander is using GPS tracking for the first time in the four-day camp at the n Institute of Sport before they fly to London for the quad series against New Zealand, England and South Africa.
It will allow them to knuckle down into the nitty gritty of knowing exactly where their players move throughout a game – compared to where they should be.
That comes on top of them using full game simulation – with elbows and bumps included – that will replicate their Commonwealth Games schedule on the Gold Coast in April.
It’s all part of looking for every single percentage of advantage the Diamonds can muster to retain their grip on the gold medal they won in Glasgow four years ago.
“In the position that we are at the Diamonds, we are currently No.1 in the world so we are being hunted, but we’ve got to make sure we find a way every time,” midcourter Liz Watson said.
“Performance analysis is a massive part of what we do and some of our club performance analysis are here as well having a look at what’s going on.
“It’s more tracking our movement on court in relation to our opponents’ movement, our teammates’ movement – trying to figure out a common theme. It’s just another way to see how we operate as a team.”
Normally the mantra in modern sport is to focus on the next game – for the Diamonds that’s South Africa on Sunday week – but Alexander has flipped that on its head with the AIS camp a view to the Comm Games in three months time.
She’s using the full squad to simulate games, with the camp and the quad series serving as the final selection trials for the Gold Coast.
“It’s a unique situation because we are heading off on the quad series on Sunday, but because we do have the whole squad here we’re trying to focus on the Comm Games and not think too much about what’s coming up and really focus on Comm Games and what we’ll be doing as a team,” Watson said.
Former Diamonds captain Laura Geitz was part of the camp and was in contention for the Gold Coast, although she won’t play in the quad series.
Goal defence April Brandley made her Diamonds debut when Geitz was injured in 2013.
But she wasn’t using Geitz’s inclusion in the camp as motivation to stay focused to keep her spot for the Commonwealth Games, rather sucking Geitz’s vast experience and knowledge dry to make herself a better player.
The final Games squad will be announced when they return from London.
“You want people like that in your group – they’ve been there, they can share that experience and they know where the group needs to go to prepare and be ready for those experiences,” Brandley said.
“I’m sucking her brains out trying to get all of her insight.”