Physical domain of potential – Abby

Learn how Abby overcomes barriers to talent development with support from her rural community.

Covered in this illustration of practice are the key actions:

Watch Abby’s story (05:29) to learn more about overcoming barriers to develop talent in the physical domain in a rural setting.

Learn more about overcoming barriers to develop talent in the physical domain in a rural setting.

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Abby's story – overcoming barriers to develop talent in the physical domain.

High potential and gifted education


My name is Abby. I'm 16 and I'm from Coomealla High School. I've been playing cricket since I was about eight. I've been invited to New South Wales Cricket pathways this year into the under 19's, and this year for the second year, I've representing Bayside Pirates in the under 23 Brisbane Premier League.


When her dad and I were still playing cricket, she would be on the sidelines with a bat and a ball in her hand, asking questions, you know, but then going home and analysing a game and finding out what the names of the positions are. She knows the positions better than I do. She'd say, mum, you need to go field at silly mid-on and I'm. Yep, no worries Abby, we can do that. So from there, right from the word go, when she was around cricket, you could see there was a little, there was something there that excited her about the game.


Coomealla is on the border between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, so it's right down the bottom corner. It's about 12 hours from Sydney. It's a pretty small town. Not many people around there. It's about 250 kids that go to the school that I go to. So yeah, being a small school does have a lot of disadvantages. Especially travel is probably the main one having to travel 1200 kilometres round trip to train or play or play at a good level cricket. And obviously the cost of that for fuel. Sometimes accommodation can be really difficult as well and eventually adds up.


We leave home at 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning, travel the 6.5 hours to Melbourne. She plays cricket and then we travel home back to Coomealla, getting home at about 1:00 in the morning. She still fronts up for school, you know, at 8:30 on that Monday morning and determined to succeed with all her classes and assignments and things like that. Always communicating with her teachers, asking, you know, is there extra work I could be doing?


I think the way the school can support me in a sporting way would be just checking up on me and making sure that I'm up top of on top of all my schoolwork, or just checking up on how my cricket is going or how my sport's going in general. That will just make sure that I'm still on top of all my schoolwork and not struggling and not falling behind.


Abby's been extremely lucky attending a smaller school like Coomealla. The one on one access you can get to the teachers really helps that when we're away from school so much with our travel and sporting commitments, they're more than happy to either assist her with an extension or online work so that she could do whilst we're travelling, and even the local cricket club, you know, supporting and celebrating Abby's successes helps us gain sponsorship, then brings along funding and all that for Abby to be able to travel all around the east coast of Australia playing cricket.


I have to manage my time quite well. I have school, two jobs and then I have to travel 1200 kilometres for cricket to Melbourne, so I have to do some schoolwork at home. So being in a smaller school I think is really good because I'm able to connect with people a bit more easily. I'm able to have more one on one chats with my principal, my year advisor. Being able to have that ability to talk to people whenever we want to.


The teachers helping give her a little bit of extra time and for assessment tasks and things like that. They're just so supportive of Abby. That and they love the story that, you know, a small town or a small school like Coomealla can produce a talent like Abby.


So the cricketer that I admire is McKinley Blows. She is an ex-student from the school. I go to, Coomealla and yeah, she's been in the cricket pathway for quite a while. She shows determination and perseverance. She has had to travel same distance as me to go to training. She had to travel once 1200 kilometres round trip to train to play. Yeah, she showed a lot of determination. She had high goals and she wanted to achieve them. If something didn't go her way, she never gave up. She's so humble. She'll message me when I'm playing down there. She'll be like, good luck, Abbs. If you need something, then let me know. Or when she comes down to Gol Gol where I live, she'll be like, wait, you want to have a training session? We can go down for a net session for a couple of hours. I want to bring other girls into cricket and try and keep them up along with me, and hopefully get them to the same level as I am, if not better. But having that connection can show that obviously we're all in this together and if we work hard, then obviously we're all going to be in the same direction. Being able to help them and like see them progress makes me feel like I'm able to help them get better, which makes me feel happy that I can give back and show that my talent can be used to help other people as well.

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Find the high potential

Develop the talent

Make the difference

NSW Government

© State of New South Wales (Department of Education), 2023

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Professional learning questions for school leaders

  • What barriers did Abby face to continue her talent development? How were these barriers reduced by the school, family and external organisations?
  • Abby talked about how being able to access one-to-one meetings with her grade advisor, online access to lessons and flexibility for assignments really helped her to accomplish her school goals. What processes are in place in your school for supporting talent development? What could you implement?
  • Not all students with high potential in the physical domain may have access to the same level of family and local club support as Abby. Can you think of any students who fall into this category? How could you support this student to overcome barriers to talent development?
  • Abby’s advanced learning pathways (ALPs) in the physical domain have been facilitated through external organisations. What external resources can you access for talent development in the physical domain? If you would like further information in order to discuss this question, please refer to the Physical domain discussion paper, p 23

Professional learning questions for teachers

  • Abby refers to the advantages and disadvantages of being part of a small school. What advantages and disadvantages are there to talent development in the physical domain in your context? On reflection, what might you now change?
  • Tash talks about Abby’s intrinsic motivation for her chosen area of talent development. What other characteristics did you notice that may indicate high potential in Abby?
  • What barriers did Abby face to continue her talent development? How were these barriers reduced by the school, family and external organisations? Can you think of a student who has faced barriers to talent development? How can teachers support students and reduce barriers for students? ( Remove: Are there any ways that teachers can reduce barriers for students?)
  • The physical domain discussion paper has practical strategies for finding high potential and developing talent in the physical domain. How might you use this resource in your classroom?


  • Teaching and learning


  • Implementation

Business Unit:

  • Teaching, Learning and Student Wellbeing
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