Lisa’s blog: Reflecting on Commonwealth Games

 

On the event as a whole…

I really enjoyed the Commonwealth Games in its entirety, particularly the performances of the overall Australian team and the spirit at which we competed. I was extremely proud of everything we did collectively, 473 athletes competing across 20 sports, with 710 team members in total, Australia’s largest ever Commonwealth Games team.

The entire experience was magnificent, it was a dream come true for all of us to be able to represent our country in our own backyard on the Gold Coast, and also in front of our family and friends. I want to thank the parents and family, the sacrifices that they make for their country to enable their partners to perform is amazing.

And also the volunteers…we know the netball volunteers quite well, we see them around the courts all the time. They are so invested in our game and I want to thank them for their commitment.

The Games is netball’s only opportunity to participate in a multi-sport event and is very special for us. It was terrific to be able to meet the Kookaburras’s new coach Colin Batch for the first time, to connect with him and have that opportunity to form a relationship moving forward. I also kept in touch with Jacco Verhaeren, our Dolphins head coach, during the games, we kept each other focused on what we needed to do.

I also loved spending time with Jan Cameron, the legendary swimmer and swimming coach, who has really sadly suddenly passed away unexpectedly, to be able to have those opportunities to speak with her in the dining hall, I will never forget those moments. To feel her spirit still gives me great pride, and to know that she was such a Diamonds supporter as well and knows how much I love the swimming team. We bonded over being two of the few female coaches on the Commonwealth Games team.

On the review process…

After the gold medal match we did a Leading Teams style review in the changerooms, with all of the team and support staff involved. There were tears, but there were also some great reflections. I took the moment to speak to the athletes and describe how proud I was of them and their performance, even though we didn’t get the result we were after. We all knew that we had played some of the best netball that anyone has seen in the world until that point. There was frustration in the room that we didn’t complete our mission, but a great respect and reverence for England too, the fact that they came out on that day and took us on.

Review is very thorough. The next stage will be a closer look at the game itself, now that the dust has settled. All athletes and coaching staff will have another look at the match and do a reflection on what they set in terms of their targets and their goals for the game. We really have to make sure that we learn all the lessons for next time.

I’ve already had a meeting with the selectors, Annie Sargeant and Michelle Wilkins. We have gone through a review of all athletes, the whole scenario of how the week went, and what happened in the finals from our coaching perspective. There are still further reviews to take place.

On the result…

Tracey Neville led a brilliant campaign. It is wonderful to see her country celebrate her success, she deserves this. The English athletes represented their country with absolute distrinction and should be extremely proud of their performance over the entire tournament, England now become one of our greatest rivals in world sport, alongside the Silver Ferns.

We know that the result was great for netball internationally, everybody knows that. It doesn’t stop the fact that the Australian Diamonds is about winning, it is about success. And that loss really hurts.

This has been a great shock, and a wakeup call for us to know that we are not unbeatable. We need to do some work, and we will work tirelessly on this.

On the impact of Suncorp Super Netball on international netball…

I have been an absolute supporter of Suncorp Super Netball from the start, because I knew we needed our own league to continue to grow.

In order to be the world’s strongest female league, we need to attract the world’s best players. This encourages greater contests, fiercer rivalries and athletes must always be at their best. This environment is a critical piece of the puzzle in the development of our Diamonds squad, and future talent.

It is very different landscape today versus 20 years ago, even 10 years ago. We know our opposition better now than ever before. Our athletes train with them daily, and play against them regularly.

We want our opposition to grow, because we need to be challenged to continue to grow the Diamonds high performance program for sustained success.

Thank you to our fans…

THANK YOU to each and every one of you, for supporting your Australian Diamonds in the lead up to and during the Commonwealth Games.

I have had letters coming into the office, ranging from kids in prep, to past legends and administrators of our game, saying how proud they are of our team. I have never received so many text messages as I did after that gold medal match.

On behalf of the Australian Diamonds, thank you again for donning the green and gold and cheering us on. We cannot wait to come out and play for you in the Netball Quad Series and Constellation Cup later this year, and our sights are firmly set on winning back our crown against England at Netball World Cup Liverpool 2019.

#Go Diamonds

@CoachLisaA