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

Loughborough Lightning deliver the Performance Pathway in the East Midlands for England Netball. Athletes can join the Pathway in four different age categories from the Under-15 age group to Under-21s.

The Player Pathway

Below is our current performance pathway structure:

Eligibility Criteria

U17-U21 Academy Eligibility Criteria

  • Under-17 as of 23:59 on 31st December 2023
  • Development – Under-17 as of 23:59 on 31st December 2023
  • Under-19 as of 23:59 on 31st December 2023
  • Under-21 as of 23:59 on 31st December 2023

U15 Academy Eligibility Criteria

  • Athlete is Under-15 at 23:59 on 31st August 2023 – born on 1st September 2008 or after.
  • Athlete is currently part of an any EN Player Pathway Programme, for example:

o   County Player Development Programme (PDP)

o   Franchise Academy (Under 19 or Under 17)

o   Franchise Player Development Programme (PDP)

  • Athlete is an EN member
  • Athlete are registered on ENgage as a member of the England Netball Player Pathway Programme by the time they attend the trials in January 2024
  • All athletes attending trials MUST be linked to their Player Pathway Programme on Engage.  Please check that this has happened, as we cannot offer a place to any athlete who is not linked.

Under-15 selection process

infographic stating the under 15 age group selection process

Under-15 athletes’ selection process leading to the School Games National Finals 2024

U15 Academy - Stage 1 Selection:

If you wish to trial for the Loughborough Lightning U15 Academy programme, you will need to sign up using the link below by 17:00 on 29 December 2023 and pay the fee to trial.

Please check eligibility above prior to registration.

Trials will be held on 6 January 2024 from 12:00 to 20:00 at Netball Centre, Loughborough University, LE11 3TU.

Booking to be released on Tuesday 13th December. Please see trial information


Once the squad is selected for the Loughborough Lightning U15 Academy in January 2024, please note the following: 

  • Athletes who are from County Player Development Programme and will stay within their County programmes (from January – May) and will also train with Loughborough Lightning during this period.
  • Athletes who are from a different Franchise's player pathway programme will need to decide by Sunday 4 February 2024 at 17:00, which Franchise pathway they will continue to attend (after the trial processes have been completed in January) – an athlete cannot be a members of two Franchise player pathway programmes (e.g  Franchise 1 – U17 PDP and Franchise 2 – U15 Academy).

The School Games National Finals 2024 will be held on 29th August – 1st September 2024 in Loughborough

For further information about the England Netball Player Pathway visit -



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, Josie Pointon. 

Read our safeguarding policy here.

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:

Safeguarding policies.

England Netball report a safeguarding concern

There is a section on the England Netball website dedicated to reporting safeguarding concerns.

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

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC 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 which you can view here.


If you have any questions relating to the Lightning Academy, please get in touch with our Franchise Pathway Lead, Josie Pointon -


Complaints and Feedback

For more information on the our complaints and feedback policy, click here.

Trial Information

Our U17, U19 and U21 Academies Trials are now closed.

U15 Academy Trials – Stage 1

Trials will be held on 6 January 2024 from 12:00 to 20:00 at Netball Centre, Loughborough University, LE11 3TU.

Our U15 Trial booking form will be released on 13th December.

Please use the link below to book:

Book now