Netball thrives when we all develop together

photo 3Last week’s National Development Camp at Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Canberra not only unveiled our most promising athletes but also our up-and-coming umpiring talent.

I am a huge supporter of this approach.

Our game depends heavily on our umpires being world-class and knowing and understanding their vital role in improving themselves alongside our coaches and athletes.

It is also a great opportunity to foster the respect and collaborative relationships that are vital to healthy development of our game at a high performance level.

Learning together, in a respectful environment, is the key towards this approach.

This weekend our national 19/U squad heads to New Zealand for a taste of international netball and to take the first step towards the ultimate goal of becoming an Australian Diamond.

The program will be a chance for all athletes and coaches to explore the match-readiness phase of training and all the high performance requirements surrounding a tour and actual performance in a national team.

It is International Coaching Week, which is a global celebration of the coaching profession in all its forms from grass roots to the very pinnacle.

It was also a timely reminder of the importance of coaching when I visited the Leongatha and District Netball Association’s 50th anniversary celebrations last weekend.

20150516_205754As one of the guest speakers at the dinner, and assisting to launch a book about the history of the association, I reminded the audience that I began my coaching career in Leongatha at the District courts – and that many of the players I have coached are now coaches themselves.

There were many umpires, administrators (pictured left) and players in the audience who have all benefitted from our great game in so many ways. The camaraderie and friendship was obvious for all to see.

Thank you to Pat Kuhne, who led the organisation of the event, for bringing all these inspiring women together and who is a true legend of netball in South Gippsland.

Our volunteers and grass roots participants are priceless and are inspirational to the Diamonds. A big thank you to you all!

Finally, it’s going to be a special day on Sunday for the Melbourne Vixens and netball fans in general with Bianca Chatfield playing what could be her last ever match on Australian soil.

Having had the privilege of coaching Bianca at both national and international level over the past 15 years, I know that she will be determined to put in a trademark Bianca Chatfield-like performance.

Go Diamonds!