Published on July 3, 2019

Strength and conditioning are crucial to the development of HVGS athletes, enhancing their fitness, stamina and recovery so they can gain a competitive edge and find success in sport long after they leave school.

Hunter Valley Grammar School employs a specialist Strength and Conditioning Coach, Donna Miller, to work intensively with our elite athletes and with students who just want to increase their physical activity.

Student using weights

Strength and conditioning training is essential for all athletes to perform at their best. The term ‘strength and conditioning’ can sometimes be limiting in its perception that it’s just about building muscle mass and aerobic fitness. A more accurate description is to view strength and conditioning as an athlete’s physical preparation for sport. It encompasses both the physical and physiological development of athletes.

How are HVGS athletes prepared for sport and success?

We aim to develop resilient, strong and technically proficient athletes, both on and off the field. This includes moral behaviours that are developed long term, including a willingness to learn new skills/movement, self-motivation and confidence.

When it comes to training philosophies, injury prevention is the number one goal. “Programming is individualised based on regular movement screening processes to inform decisions,” says Donna Miller, HVGS Strength and Conditioning Coach . “Foundations are built, then tailored to the needs of each athlete, be it for their specific sports or overall physical activity. Students don’t need to be athletes to be athletic, with every student gaining benefit from fundamental motor patterns.”

Countless research studies have identified significant relationships between the physical qualities and activities that are essential to performance. For example, the stronger an athlete is in a pull-up, the better their tackling performance is in rugby. We look at the qualities athletes require to be successful in their sport, and we build a program to enhance those qualities. Students also have access to workshops & seminars addressing nutrition, psychology, lifestyle habits including sleep hygiene and recovery modalities to complement their training. 

HVGS student in rugby game


What is the ultimate goal for HVGS athletes?

An education in physical preparation ensures that students are competent across all of the athletic movement skills that they will need for success.  “My goal is to increase physical activity across the board for children and adolescents – as of the 2018 National Health Survey, only one in ten adolescents participated in 60 minutes of exercise daily, with less participation in bone strengthening programs, ” says Donna.

“I also aim to educate students about different exercise modalities, movements, their associated technique and application so they can further use this knowledge to continue training and leading healthier lifestyles into their adult years.

“Resistance training has countless research behind it to support not only physical benefits, but mental and social aspects which contribute to schooling, home and social life as well. We want to build better athleticism and better human beings,” says Donna.