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Netball - building a team environment & learning from others
23 March 2013
story by Jesse Phillips: WAIS Kayaker
I enjoy presenting to Netball players, they are always interested in sports other than their own.   Why is this an important point to bring up? Because in my experience, with those athletes that are aware of the challenges that other athletes face there is a much higher chance that they are willing to learn. This has benefits that are twofold: Athlete A is interested in Athlete B. Athlete B is then engaged in conversation about their sport with Athlete A. Athlete A gains insights into another sport, other than their own and Athlete B is provided the opportunity to reinforce the learning within their sporting career. It is the ideal way of creating a mentoring environment.   There was another great trait about this group, compared to other groups I have worked with, and that is their cohesive nature. The girls seemed to really get along and know each other well, which is another fantastic attribute in a team sport culture. It could quite easily be the opposite culture, as the competitive nature of team sports can lead to a rivalry amongst its players.
Anyway, getting back to what this group was showing: Squad Cohesion. This is such an important element in a team as each individual has greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their fellow players. The whole team is lifted by way of sharing the workload, creating an environment of opportunity for whole team to strive for optimal performance and having better awareness of how they fit into the team dynamic.  I believe it is critical to success in sport to have a knitted relationship with the people you participate with as it strengthens the unified objective. For me it came easily with my doubles partner Steve Bird because we got along really well from the outset. It ensures an open level of sharing and understanding of where each other is at and this becomes important when the pressure is on. The better you feel connected in thought to your team mate the easier it is to balance the energy for better performance - this is something that becomes intuitive after many years working together - a valid reason for why long-term sporting partnerships are so strong.
Big ups to the girls for the morning's activities, I always learn something from the workshops. It was a pleasure to once again be mentoring such lovely local athletes, as you can see from this great photo.   All I asked was: "Who is your favourite, current WA sporting icon?"   …I didn't rig it I promise!   Until next time, stay on your toes.

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