THE Sydney Swifts ended our unbeaten run with a 55-52 upset loss in Sydeny last weekend.
We were up by eight goals in the first quarter, but the Swifts quickly turned it around which caught us off guard.
Looking back now — we put it down to not playing with the intensity we did in the past six wins. We all have taken ownership of that.
So this week we have put our foot on the pedal at court work, focusing on intensity and team connection. We have also placed an emphasis on our recovery and recuperating after a successful first half of the season on the road.
Most Monday nights this season I have headed to Ballarat to stay with my sister Leesa, where I get all the right recovery and rest after the weekend’s game.
As senior coach of a team in the Central Highlands League, Leesa is always picking my brain for new training drills and how she can structure and provide variety.
I get asked this a lot on my country visits and I love to share the new drills and tactics we are learning from our coaches at the Vixens.
So I thought I would set out a skeleton of a typical session drawing from all of my experiences with coaches.
In setting out this training session, I have been mindful that the average country netball team trains for about an hour.
COACHING TRAINING TIPS
You need to firstly communicate your expectations of your players.
Start time: If you say training is a 6pm until 7pm, work hard for the hour, then time to socialise after. If players need taping, this should be done prior to training.
Water and fruit should be courtside so players get the best out of their session.
WARM-UP: 10 minutes. Make it fun and with high activity. Gone are the days of running a long lap around the football oval and standing in a circle stretching.
Build activity into sprints. Active stretching throughout activities is the most effective way to warm up.
FITNESS FOOTWORK and SKILLS: 20 minutes. This part of training is when players work in small groups or partners on ball handling, footwork through cone drills.
In this time it is also a great opportunity to add a team drill where you set targets for dropped balls. Example, court sprints as penalties.
COURT SYSTEMS: 15 minutes. At the Vixens this is a huge part of our training. It is when the goal keeper brings the ball through the court to the goalers who finish with a shot.
This is important as it cements in the players heads the space each position should fill.
It gives coaches an opportunity to throw different situations out on court where players must respond. Defence can be progressively added throughout drill.
Setting targets is also a great way to instil quality ball handling and shooting accuracy.
This is a stage where opposition analysis takes place, e.g. How are we going to shut down the high ball to the goal shooter?
This drill focuses on:
n Workload off the ball where players must create space or lose their defender before driving.
n Short sharp movements to strong leads
nDepth on second phase into the goal third.
n Providing a down the line option so the ball is not swinging from one side of the court to the other. Decrease risk of intercepts.
MATCH OR HALF COURT: 10 minutes: Simply now just play two five-minute quarters where you trial set plays and add defensive pressure. Umpire required.
COOL DOWN: Five minutes: Walking and active stretching alongside players you work with on the court. We call this positional meetings where we talk and connect with teammates about our own games and the opposition analysis.
It is important to eat within 30 minutes after training to replenish your energy stores. Sustagen Sport drink is my recovery of choice.
THE ONE PERCENTERS
Coaches can provide goal sheets for players, or an analysis of the opposition. I have even witnessed some country netball clubs doing video analysis.
My closing statement for coaches is that remember that you are the leader and your team is a reflection of you. So empower your players. And communication is the key.
For more questions about training, I would be happy to offer advice: email@example.com
As for the Vixens, we look forward to a home game on Sunday where we take on the Northern Mystics at Hisense Arena.