Tania Obst believes she’s found her coaching niche discovering and developing Australia’s netball talent.
Obst has been appointed the new coach of the Australian 21/U program for the next two years with the task of beginning Australia’s preparations for the next World Youth Netball Championships being held in African nation Botswana in 2017.
In her new role, Obst will work closely with Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander and Netball Australia’s High Performance team in developing Australia’s emerging talent.
A coach of the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the former national league, she’s spent the past four years heading up the South Australian Institute of Sport netball program and has coached South Australia’s 21/U team to national titles in 2002, 2003 and 2013.
Her coaching CV also includes an Australian Netball League title (2012) with the Southern Force and two seasons as an assistant coach with the Thunderbirds’ ANZ Championship franchise.
Obst said she’s excited to be taking on such a coveted position.
“I am extremely honoured to have been appointed the national 21/U coach,” Obst said.
“I feel my skill set is ideal for developing netballers in that age 18 to 21 year age group and I look forward to transferring that into the national squad.
“The significance of the role is not lost on me at all and I look forward to preparing as much talent as I can for the Diamonds program.”
Obst will be a keen onlooker over next month’s 21/U National Netball Championships as she and the national selectors will choose a squad to attend a camp in Canberra later this year. A tour of New Zealand for a series of Tests is also planned.
“There are a number of athletes still eligible from our World Youth Championships team last year who you would think will again be pushing for selection (in this year’s 21/U squad),” Obst said.
Obst will also work closely with Netball Australia’s Head of High Performance Carol Byers and National Pathway Manager Stacey West in looking towards 2017 and reclaiming the World Youth Championships title from New Zealand.
“The 17/U and 19/U age group is where our next World Youth Cup squad will come from,” she said.
“I’m passionate about my sport and about developing Australia’s next pool of Diamonds.”
Alexander said the 21/U national coach was a critical position in Australia’s pathway.
“It’s a turning point; when the juniors in the 17/U and 19/U teams make that key step up in terms of competition and performance,” Alexander said.
“They’re still learning how to play at international level but it’s about winning as well as about development.
“Tania’s role is to make sure the 21/U athletes are well prepared for the Diamonds environment.”
Byers said Obst’s success with the SASI program provides her with the perfect foundation for success with the 21/U program.
“She has implemented significant change within the SASI program,” Byers said.
“It’s changed from a team program to an individual program which has been extremely successful in developing athletes for the international stage.
“Winning the SASI Program of the year in 2013 is a great testament to the work she’s done over the four years.”
The 21/U National Netball Championships will be played in Adelaide between 12-16 March.