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Specialist cluster sessions a win-win for coaches and young talent

The ‘Grow Your Game’ initiative has a two-pronged focus with the aim of promoting specialist coaching while also helping to progress the development of netball’s young talent.

With a view towards next year’s Netball World Youth Cup, the Netball New Zealand (NNZ) initiative will be hosted in specific North, Central and South areas in the coming weeks, the first starting this weekend, and will involve two specialist cluster sessions in each of the three areas.

The specialist sessions are headed by a team of 10 top-quality coaches under the guise of the NZ U21 coach, Yvette McCausland-Durie. All have played at international level, and will be sharing their expertise with a host of talented NZU21-eligible players.

``This is another arm to developing our high performance coaches while also recognising our athletes coming through,’’ National Manager – Coach Development Tania Karauria said.

``It’s looking at ways that we can provide professional development for coaches as well as utilising their knowledge and experience at the performance/high performance level. The flipside of that is to allow more athletes the opportunity to have expert skillsets to specialist positions imparted by specialist coaches that have been there before and now coach.”

The COVID-19 lockdown added unforeseen constraints on many areas of competitions and being able to run the three clusters throughout the country will allow New Zealand’s up-and-coming netball youth a huge opportunity to be seen and glean some information around themselves, to identify where they stand at the moment and where they need to get to.

``Following on from the Pathway to Podium programme, Yvette was keen to incorporate a specialist programme within her World Youth Netball Cup campaign,’’ Karauria said

Many of the young players have been identified through a selection process and tracked by the NNZ’s Emerging Talent Panel. Each Zone has also been given an opportunity to submit names, of promising talent, all being seen as players for the future.

``In this situation, NZU21-eligible players who are currently playing in the ANZ Premiership will be left alone and picked up later by Yvette to look at collectively,’’ Karauria said.

``Those players are getting what they need currently. Yvette is excited at the prospect of casting our net even wider and opening more opportunities for others.

``From the coach development perspective, it is the excitement around the number of coaches who have put their hands up and continue to be passionate about our young players, wanting to be part of their development. The calibre of coach that we have got coming through in that specialist area, is outstanding.

Specialist coaches:

North cluster: Linda Vagana, Temepara Bailey, Te Aroha Keenan

Central cluster: Pelesa Semu/Wai Taumaunu, Sandra Edge, Irene van Dyk

South cluster: Anna Galvan, Julie Seymour, Jo Morrison