My visit to Darwin has been action-packed and very timely in that it is smack bang into the start of the netball season here in the top end.
It also coincided with a very special anniversary, 30 years since the Victorian Open team won the National Title in Darwin, of which I was one of the team members.
Shelley Haynes, current EO of Netball NT and Gillian Lee, current NTIS Head Coach (also members of the Victorian Open team), and I, went back to the old Parap Netball Courts to reminisce about the events of that Nationals campaign (pictured right).
Then we trained for three hours in total including match play.
Our Coach Norma Plummer certainly knew that we would be fit and ready for the first Nationals tournament.
Matches were played at twilight and night, on the newly asphalted courts, to avoid the heat of the day in Darwin.
Yes, we won that tournament and all 10 players in that team pulled together magnificently to secure victory in the end for Victoria, under the guidance of the master tactician Norma Plummer.
I think it was the Indian file and the Fartlek training that was the secret. Oh the memories…Shelley, Gillian and I certainly had a laugh about all the funny stories from that time!
It was also terrific to see the passion and community feeling at the Palmerston Netball Courts as a part of my visit to Darwin, especially as I had officially opened the courts 4 years ago.
I spoke with a few of the dedicated community coaches at the courts and to hear their positive energy and willingness to learn and ask questions was inspiring. We are so fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteer coaches.
The Palmerston Committee were also a joy to meet and interact with. Their organisation of the matches was like clockwork, and all delivered with a smile.
I was just so happy to share the night with all the netballers, umpires, officials and families attending.
The grassroots certainly helps us all stay focused on what our great game is all about in this country.
I also spent time coaching the talented Darwin based athletes and coaching their coaches. They all received the same message as I deliver around the country about their pathway to the top to become a Diamond.
I was also in charge of the ANZ NetSetGO. 10/U and 11/U groups at Good Shepard Lutheran School in Palmerston for training sessions.
This keeps the National Coach firmly grounded in the coaching process and also making the day of some very excited Diamonds fans.
It was a busy visit but certainly worth it as all our States and Territories are extremely important to our sport and the mining of future Diamonds!