NETS is different version of Netball. It is fast, non-stop and very tactical. Although there are similarities with the rules of standard 7 a side netball, there are obviously a number of differences as well. The most obvious of these is that the game is played within an enclosed high tension cage, or ‘nets’… so the ball never goes out!
In October 2015 England Netball took gold at the NETs World Championships in Brisbane, Australia. Four teams went to the Aged World Championships and the U18 ladies squad became World Champions, beating South Africa 51- 47 in the grand final. They also became the first ever England team to beat Australia in NETs, doing so three times across the competition.
With the 2016 Indoor Netball (NETS) World Cup around the corner, and coaching positions now open for applications, we thought we would talk to Sam Meade, 2015 World Championships Ladies Coach. Along with Luke Penney, Sam took on the challenge of coaching 10 individuals (a brand new team!), some with little experience playing NETS in the lead up, and during the World Championships in Brisbane.
We caught up with Sam to hear about her experience, and ask for her advice to anyone thinking about applying for this amazing opportunity.
What made you want to go for the role?
I thought it would be a good opportunity to improve my learning and development as a coach. It’s always great to work in a different sporting environment to bring a different perspective and ideas to the game. I have definitely taken this learning back into my coaching.
What was your biggest challenge whilst coaching the squad?
The biggest challenge that we faced was having a majority of players that hadn’t played NETS before. Having 14 sessions to prepare for a World Championships was quite challenging. And in these 14 sessions, not all of the squad members were there. Like the players, I had to learn the rules and the game quickly to ensure I could have an impact on them, put across my principles and get the buy in from the players.
What was your highlight of coaching the squad?
Definitely seeing the players improve. When I first started I was a bit apprehensive about the gap between what we had learnt as a squad in comparison to the experience that the opposition had. We were going up against countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, that were playing week in week out from a young age. Having said that, when we went out there and had 2/3 training games, it happened to click….this made a MASSIVE difference to the squads confidence, and had a big impact on their performance during the competition. So the overall improvement of the players was definitely the highlight of the coaching opportunity.
What was your highlight of the whole experience?
Being able to travel the world and go and see a different country. The morale of travelling together as a big squad and the competition/ performance environment – living it constantly. It was tiring but definitely a positive experience when you are a performance coach to be living and breathing the performance environment!
Would you change anything about your experience as a coach?
No – for me as a coach, all experience is positive, you can learn from it whether you fail or you succeed. However, as is the case with performance, you’re always striving to be better and improve, and there are always ways in which any sport can grow and develop to aid improvement in performance.
What would be your advice for anyone thinking about applying?
Definitely 100% apply. Be prepared to work hard, to think outside of the box, to be challenged and to grow as a coach… maybe in ways you didn’t realise you could or would. Working in any sport at performance level will have a positive impact on your coaching in the future.
To find out more information about how you can get involved this year click here.