Gerrard turns hand to developing next generation

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She forged a reputation as a reliable, uncompromising defender and now Mo’onia Gerrard is having an impact on Australian netball in a coaching capacity.

Gerrard is passing on her knowledge gained over 182 national league matches and 68 Tests for Australia to the next generation of emerging talent.

She’s coached at State League level in her home state of New South Wales and done some specialist work in the past two years with Australia’s 19/U and 21/U squads as well as with the NSW Swifts in the ANZ Championship and also internationally – most notably in Tonga.

Gerrard, part of Australia’s world champion teams in 2007 and 2011, said stepping into the coaching ranks had been a new experience for her after a long playing career.

_DMC8101LiBut she’s enjoyed going through the process of gaining her coaching accreditation and having an impact in helping young players develop at all levels.

“It’s different. I’m enjoying the experiences that I’ve been given and the opportunities and Netball Australia has been a great help to be honest,” Gerrard said.

“I wouldn’t be at this point without some of the systems that are in place.

“I like the feeling of giving back to a junior and seeing that smile on their face or that satisfaction where you told them to do this or that and they do what you say and it paid off for them.

“It’s a good feeling that way.”

Next week Gerrard has been invited by Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander to come to Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence as part of the coaching panel assisting her at the `Future Diamonds Focus’ camp.

Twenty-one athletes have been invited to the three-day camp who have been identified as potential future Diamonds.

Gerrard will work alongside Jane Searle with the defenders and Alexander said it will be an invaluable experience for the likes of Jo Weston, Courtney Bruce and Kristiana Manu’a.

Importantly, it will also be an opportunity for Gerrard to continue to develop her coaching skills.

“The targeted coach program established by Netball Australia is designed to support elite players who’ve decided to move into coaching,” Alexander said.

“This program enables us to use Mo’onia’s expertise and experience as a defender at international level but it also allows her to watch what the top coaches do and how they create sessions to enable those players to improve and develop as athletes.

“Mo’onia is really starting to learn what it takes to be a coach and I applaud her for her efforts. She’s working through her coaching accreditation and certainly she’s enjoyed her experiences and really felt like she’s contributing to the development of young people.”

The `Future Diamonds Focus’ camp runs from 22-24 September.