Welcome back to what is shaping as a big year for netball in Australia and, in fact, around the world.
The Australian Diamonds’ 2015 campaign has been uppermost in my mind since that wonderful Gold Medal success at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year; as usual a coach’s mind never rests.
I asked myself the question `what do we need to do as a group to get better for the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney? I can tell you, hand on heart, we are not taking anything for granted just because we have a `home’ World Cup.
As the great coaching legend of Australian sport, Ric Charlesworth, has reiterated to me on a number of occasions, “vigilance” and “attention to detail” are keys to continuous improvement.
My coaching staff of Michelle den Dekker (assistant coach) and Marg Caldow (specialist attack coach) along with our extremely capable support staff and national selectors understand our mantra of “prepare, prepare, prepare.”
We have drilled down to all the details including meal times, best recovery practices and times for match play and training.
Diamonds squad members can also expect some ‘disruptions’ from time-to-time to ensure that our `what ifs’ are well drilled and that we have strategies in place to deal with them.
We’ll also look at the training we need to do as a team to build on our established combinations – and to challenge these with new combinations that refresh our tactics and strategies as team and squad.
We have been extremely well supported in the planning of this camp by Netball NSW and New South Wales Institute of Sport and we cannot wait to use the new courts at Netball Central in Sydney Olympic Park and the facilities at NSWIS.
I have just concluded my visits around our beautiful country to all of the ANZ Championship teams and can report they are all doing a magnificent job in preparing their athletes for the upcoming season,just over a month away.
I have no doubt that the competition for the three spots in the new-look Australian Conference Finals will be hotter than ever and I can’t wait for the action to start on February 28 in Adelaide.
All Diamonds squad members have been showing improvement and training very smartly: I am very pleased with the progress we are making.
As everyone knows, it’s going to be a tough selection process for our Netball World Cup team – even for the Diamonds squad itself. But this is how it should be and national selectors Annie Sargeant, Michelle Wilkins and I have countless hours of footage to review and statistics to study to ensure we select the best team to defend our world championship crown in front of the Australian crowds in August.
A reminder to all of our fans out there; please vote for the Diamonds as the best Sports Performance of 2014 in the AIS/ASC Sport Performance Awards.
Voting closes on 2 February and we need to show the sporting world that we have the biggest number of passionate and loyal fans!
I’m really looking forward to the camp next week and the year ahead and I can’t wait to see all of you around the country at ANZ Championship games and on my visits!
Bring on the Netball World Cup 2015 SYDNEY!