We hope you are well safe and well, and looking forward to safely returning yourself and your players to Stage 4a modified training.
As we return to netball, lace up our trainers, and look forward to welcoming our members back, we appreciate a lot of hard work will have taken place to ensure our return to netball is as safe as possible. To help you, we have pulled together some top tips and advice on how you can help yourself and your players to RECONNECT with one another over the upcoming weeks and months:
R – Remind players and your support team of the Netball Modifications. You should revisit these with your players, support team and parents (if appropriate) prior to your first session. A copy of the Netball Modifications can be found here. It’s important to consider the players that may find this more difficult to implement (e.g. circle players, juniors), be patient and continue to reinforce the messages. Continue to practice game realistic scenarios in training and reinforce the modifications to support the transition of this learning into the game.
E – Consider your coaching and playing Environment. It is important to select an appropriate venue. Indoor venues are higher risk than outdoor venues, therefore outdoor venues are preferred and should be used where available and weather permits. You should be prepared to ‘Get In, Play Safe, Get Out’.
C – Connect with the athletes, check in and see how they’re feeling. This has been a strange time for everyone and whilst everyone will be eager to return to this next stage of training some may be feeling anxious about it and/or not ready to return. A key part of being a great coach is understanding the people you coach. If you understand them, their goals, hopes and dreams, and their fears and frustrations then you will be on the path to knowing what you can do to provide great experiences.
O – This is an Opportunity. The Netball Modifications provide us with an opportunity to further challenge our players’ decision making, positional readiness and team work. How far off your player can you be and still win the ball or restrict movement? How can players work together to isolate the opposition or get free? Experiment, explore and enjoy your coaching.
N – Nurture the younger players. We want everyone to fall in love with the game of netball and this is a really crucial time for our younger players. They are going to find these Netball Modifications difficult to adhere to due to their enthusiasm and ball hungry nature. It’s important that we are patient with them and don’t dampen their enthusiasm whilst also keeping everyone safe. Continue to reinforce social distancing and the netball modifications on and off court whilst also remember the players are there to have fun.
N – Use your Network. You will find lots of guidance on the England Netball website to support you on your return to court. If you are an England Netball member you will find coaching hints and tips through the Virtual Netball Club. Member Monday emails have all the details on how to access this content. We will continue to provide additional coaching support over the coming weeks. You can also find some really useful resources, articles and online training on the UK Coaching website.
E – Be mindful of your Expectations of the players. Start light and build slowly. The risk of doing too much is far greater than doing too little. Think about how you can gradually increase the physical, technical and cognitive demands of the players over the next 6 to 8 weeks. Starting with predicted movements and moving to more unpredicted movements, from a controlled environment to a more chaotic one. Building gradually each week. Remember to consider what other physical activity your players are doing outside of your netball session. We provide additional support for coaches in this area over the coming weeks.
C – Communication is key, but you may find it will be more challenging. Coaches delivering sessions indoors will be required to wear a mask. Remember no shouting! Your coaching position is key here, keep on the move, see all the players and focus on individual feedback and praise. Make what you say really count! Consider sharing your session plan with the players beforehand and any groups they will be working in. This will save time and reduce the number of group interventions you will need.
T – Team work will make the dream work. Reducing the risk of COVID-19 is everyone’s responsibility. It will be really beneficial to have people around to help support both off and on court activities. Utilise your assistant coaches, volunteers and parents. That team work will work even better if everyone is clear on their role. There is lots to do and think about so it’s important that you share any specific information needed to perform those tasks/roles in advance.
Make sure to check our the Virtual Netball Club for lots of ideas to help support you with your return to coaching. Share your experiences with us also, by tagging England Netball Coaching on Facebook and Twitter 🙂