The name “I Love Netball” wasn’t hard to think up. Who doesn’t
love the game?
When I started playing it was called “women’s basketball” and not too much has changed except in those days we
didn’t wear bibs.
Netball is a thinking game because the game is positional and restricted by non-stepping and the 3 second rule.
These two simple rules make this game very much different to basketball, in that if players are out of position the
ball is usually intercepted.
Of course as with any sport, umpires can make or break a game. And poor umpiring was my bugbear right from my
early years as a defender. I always figured defenders weren’t getting a fair deal and shooters were getting too
many opportunities that they weren’t entitled to in the rules.
In the early seventies I was asked to play State as a defender but my mindset was fixed on becoming an umpire. I
think the four decades I have been umpiring (See my umpiring website) has set up my role as a coach now. Umpire’s get a completely different view
of the game and can see player’s mistakes so much more easily than the players themselves.
With some good success coaching my first senior teams and later coaching and training a league club outcomes
were mixed. If club management and coaching staff aren’t on the same side petty issues arise and always to players
and teams’ detriment.
First professional Coaching Job:
I gave coaching away, and concentrated on umpiring more,
until I was asked to help coach a team for the grand finals. I had two hours to do it! You can only imagine how
nervous I was wondering how on earth anyone could coach a team to success in two hours, and at the end of the
I asked my husband, “What will I say and what am I going to show them?”.
With a small audience of about eight parents I was reasonably confident I could do something significant to lift
this team. After a warm up and watching them play I could see what they were doing wrong. So I breathed a sigh of
relief! And it was encouraging too that it was their coach that asked me to help out this team, which took away
some of the pressure.
Then I made a mistake by looking around to see fifty people, other team players, parents, coaches and a couple
of stray dogs all looking on. The players were a responsive bunch, all willing to learn more and know how to play
better, but the real coaching didn’t come until the game stated.
During the game I coached them from the sideline keeping the players in their positions and moving them back and
forward as the game unfolded. They were playing a team equal in ability and skill and they either won or lost by a
goal or so each time they met. This game they were up by 18 goals at half time all because their court positioning
was adjusted. They slumped a little in the 3rd quarter, most likely depleted of energy, and ended up winning by 12
goals. The players were ecstatic and I was ecstatic I could go home.
That was my first professionally paid coaching job and coaching jobs have just escalated from that day
- umpiring and coaching professionally.
It is natural that everyone wonders if they will be successful at doing
something. When I was asked to coach at Rep level, some years later and seeing three “U17 teams” I coached, do so
well, the enjoyment and satisfaction is always rewarding.
I very much enjoy umpiring allowing games to flow so both teams get a good run on to perform at their best. But
I will admit umpiring well is more difficult to master than coaching. Coaching is just a matter of
putting the right players in the right court positions and showing them how to think netball.
And this is what I am doing now with my “Courtside Player & Coaching Tips” to show others what I have
learnt over many decades and how to put these tips into action.
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This crucial tactic will show you how the professionals get the ball past
the defenders to the goal
Please note: All players swap
between being attackers and defenders depending on which team has possession of the ball. You
need to know how goal shooters work the circle otherwise GA & GS will have all their own
way. Tactics #2 will show you what's going on in the
You have got the ball to the shooters. What next? It is critical all players know how to work the
goal circle to prevent a turnover.
Also learn the goal shooting technique that will have you shooting a high percentage of goals in
any tough competition.