The Lightning Academy

The Lightning Academy’s aim is to find and grow competitive players and coaches with the aspirations and ability to compete at an elite level.

Our Academy

Our Loughborough Lightning Academy supports over 270 athletes from 12 – 21 years of age. We believe in an inclusive athlete centred environment that fosters a culture of excellence, teamwork, ownership and gratitude whilst providing a strong foundation for personal development.

Our Academy has strong links to the Loughborough Lightning senior programme and our ethos is inclusive of all ages and stages within our club. 

The Pathway

Below is our current performance pathway structure:

Academy Training

The Academy programme provides performance training and a pathway for athletes to develop, progress and strengthen their understanding of the game within a team environment. We aim to provide the athletes with a high standard of coaching, education, and an enjoyable training environment with the addition of high quality match play to support the athletes learning and progression.

For the 2022/23 season the training time for each NPL squad will be:



A small group of athletes will be selected to represent Loughborough Lightning in competition.

The competition season is split into two parts:

  1. NPL League Season (September – April roughly)
  2. NPL Tournament Season (May – August roughly)

The Lighting teams provide an opportunity for players to develop within competition and as part of a team. We have teams competing in the U21 and U19  and U17 Netball Performance League (NPL) as well as U15 teams who play training games against other Franchises during the league season.

The U21, U19, and U17 teams will also compete in the NPL tournament in the summer.

The U15 team will compete in the School Games competition. Each team will consist of 12-15 players depending on the rules of the competition.

Athletes selected for a team will have an additional session and therefore train up to twice a week.


Loughborough Lightning is committed to ensuring your child plays netball in a safe environment. As part of this commitment staff, coaches and volunteers coming into contact with our athletes will meet the following criteria:

-Valid UKCC Level 2 (Head Coaches)
-Valid UKCC Level 1 or 2 (Assistant Coaches)
-Valid 1st Aid Certificate
-Will have undergone a Disclosure and barring service (DBS) check with Loughborough University to ensure their suitability.

 If you have any safeguarding concerns please contact our Safeguarding Officer, Yvette Heywood 

Please note that the Lead Safeguarding Officer may refer the matter to the NGB England Netball, Local Authority Children’s Services Department, the Police, or Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) should the child need immediate attention. 

England Netball Safeguarding Information:

England Netball report a safeguarding concern

There is a section on the England Netball website dedicated to reporting safeguarding concerns which is found here -

Concerns can be raised by sending an email to or using and completing the concern report form found through the link above.

Remote Coaching Safeguarding Considerations

Guidance on this can be found here - under the ‘Encouraging Activity’ drop down section. 

Zoom call safety features

The NSPCC and O2 have published safety advice about Zoom on their Net Aware site which applies for all video conferencing services.

This includes:

  • Supervising your child whenever they are using Zoom.
  • Ensure meetings are password protected. This will be compulsory from Saturday May 9th.
  • If you’re hosting a public meeting ensure only you can share your screen by turning on the function when setting up the call.
  • Ensure the waiting room feature is on at all times and only let in people you know.
  • Do not share meeting details or passwords publicly or on social media, including in ‘closed’ groups, and only share them privately with attendees you know and trust.
  • Familiarise yourself with the security icon in the menu bar so you know how to lock the meeting, use the waiting room and remove participants

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free and confidential advice on 0808 800 5000 or email A dedicated O2/NSPCC online safety helpline is available on 0808 800 5002. Children can contact Childline for free on 0800 1111 or visit and speak to a counsellor about a worry or concern they may have 365-days-a-year.


Each season we host open trial opportunities for athletes to be selected into our Loughborough Lightning Pathway. All athletes, regardless of selection from previous seasons, must register and attend trials.

Selection is done in line with England Netball guidelines and our Loughborough Lightning Selection Policy.

Selection into our U15 and U17 Performance Hubs:
Each season we conduct a 1-day trial for entry into each age group of our Academy Hub programme. Trials dates are normally held in June and selected athletes will be sent a strength and conditioning programme to complete at home during the summer in preparation for training to commence in September. 

Athletes are not required to be nominated to attend trials. Trials are open to anyone who would like to put themselves forward for selection into our academy, as long as they meet the age requirements. All athletes are required to complete an online registration form detailing their contact infomation and their preferred positions.

Age Requirements: U15 - Yr8 - Yr10 (as of start of School term September 2022)
                             U17 - Yr10 - Yr11 (as of start of School term September 2022

Trials dates for the 2022/23 season:

U15 - 12/6/22

U17 - 19/6/22


Selection into our U15 and U17 Competition and Development Squads: 

Selection for the following squads will be conducted via an internal trials process and will be limited to current members of our U15 and U17 Academy Hubs*. All athletes who attend these trials will be nominated via their Academy Hub Coaching Team.

* With the exception of Trials for the U15 School Games Squad which is Open to all eligible who wish to put themselves forward.

Lightning U15 Futures Squad
Lightning U15 Development Squad 

Lightning U17 Competition Squad
Lightning U17 Development Squad 


Selection into our U19 and U21 (NPL) Squads:

Trials dates are held in October when university students have returned to the area. 

Athletes are not required to be nominated to attend trials. Trials are open to anyone who would like to put themselves forward for selection into our academy, as long as they meet the age requirements. All athletes are required to complete an online registration form detailing their contact infomation and their preferred positions.

Age Requirements: TBC
Trial dates for 2022/23 season: TBC

Mid-Season selection opportunities:
We have a number of opportunities for potential athletes to be invited into the Lightning Academy pathway for trial throughout the season:   

  • County coach referral
  • Lightning Masterclasses
  • Lightning Camps
  • Opportunity to be scouted within competition

Internal training opportunities:
Through out the season and in between trials, players can be invited to train at the next level of the pathway by a Lightning Coach. This is to ensure we are able to support the needs of individual athletes and provide extension where applicable.

More Information:
For a more comprehensive understanding of the process please read the selection policy below:

Lightning selection policy - netball

Covid-19 Guidance



What happens if my lateral flow test is positive?

Isolate and urgently contact your coach. 
Arrange a PCR test and await result.

What happens if my PCR is positive (after a positive lateral flow)?

Self isolate. You can stop self isolating after 7 days if you get a negative LFT on day 6 & 7.
Inform your coach and Covid Medical Officer. 
Your close contacts from 48 hours before you tested should take a LFT every day for 7 days .

What happens if my PCR test doesn’t come back (after my LFT) before the match?

Contact your Coach. 
You may be asked to take a second lateral flow.

What happens if a lateral flow test is positive 24 hours before a match?

If this is a member of support staff and they have maintained social distancing and wore masks, then the rest of the team will be able to travel to the match as planned.
If positive, the athlete won’t be able to play, however the rest of the squad will as long as they have returned a negative LFT 24 hours before a match.

As there is a testing regime, does that mean I won’t get COVID at a match?

No testing regime is 100% effective and so there remains the risk of contracting COVID during a game, however this will be really small if everyone continues to abide by the rules.

I have had a vaccine, do I still need to test?

Yes – the vaccine does not guarantee that you won’t catch or pass on Covid. 

I have had the COVID vaccine, do I still need to isolate if a team member tests positive?

No - however you will need to lateral flow test for 7 days from if you had close contact with the team member 48 hours before they tested positive. 

I am training/coaching but not travelling to the match this week, do I still need to test?

Yes, all players and staff need to do the second test, even if they will not be a part of the matchday squad

I currently have COVID, do I need to keep to the LFT schedule whilst in isolation?

Yes – so that we can track when your lateral flow returns to normal.