Player Pathways

| Posted inWeekly Blog

The push is on by all the State Associations to keep players in our game competing with other sports for player registrations.
Due to more media coverage Netball has had the ability to find sponsorship dollars enabling States to set up programs for young players.  These programs form the term ‘Player Pathways’.
Many years ago I was an athlete at the Australian Institute of Sport and to begin this journey I headed off from Brisbane to Canberra in my little Mazda.  I remember when the AIS were recruiting and we received a letter advising us of trial times in Brisbane.  I showed Mum and we thought it was a great idea not really knowing what it was all about.
I trialled and received a congratulations letter and off I went.  Seemed like a simple pathway compared to today’s one.
A players ability comes down to good coaching and this coaching should be in the player’s formative years.  Teaching kids the fundamentals and basics of the game can be more important than skills taught at the age of 16.  Netball becomes second nature when introduced at an early age and the understanding and ability to read a game will also be developed.
Currently Associations are running the ‘Net Set Go’ Program for 5 – 10 years.  This is a program that continues to run each year and is just rebadged.  Trying to make Netball fun for kids but when I go and watch these programs I still see long lines of little netballers waiting to catch a ball and looking extremely bored.
I believe coaches should be the focus of development.  What is out there for coaches to access?   What are associations doing to skill up new coaches?  Are associations leaving it to the clubs to educate their coaches?
Not every coach wants to coach State, ANL or ANZ.  Coaches want a solid support network where they can access information and advice.  New coaches need mentors and not feel the pressure of being left on their own as this can be a daunting experience.
Funding is being poured into the academy program for the 15-17 year old players but how much funding is going into the development of coaches at the junior level in our local associations.
It is my belief if coaches were educated then players will be educated and cream rises to the top.  If a player has potential and has had that formative coaching the pool of skilled players will increase therefore the standard of players will be stronger.
Coaching is such an integral part of the ‘Player Pathway’. The Energy Netball Website will give you years of coaching literature to educate your players whatever age they may be.  The more information we can impart on our players the more information they will take out on court.
Written By Melissa O’Brien