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.

The Pathway Structure

Below is our current performance pathway structure:

Academy Training

The Academy programme provides performance training and a pathway for athletes to develop as individual athletes. The Academy is split into U21, U19, U17 and U15 age groups. Each Academy/Hub will have between 18-24 athletes in it.

At U21 and U19 age groups, training is centralised in Loughborough.

At U17 and U15 age groups, training will take place in hubs across the region


A small group of athletes will be selected to represent Loughborough Lighting 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 Netball Performance League (NPL) as well as U17 and U15 teams who play training games against other Franchises during the league season. 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.


There are 3 key phases:

  1. In September, the Academies/Hubs are selected (each with 18-24 athletes)
  2. In Oct/Nov the teams are selected for the league season (12-15 athletes each)
  3. In June teams are selected for the tournament season (12-15 athletes each)

For our U15 and U17 teams, players will be selected from our U17 and U15 Academy. For our U19 and U21 teams, players will be selected from an open trial.


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

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.

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

Lightning selection policy - netball