The Weekly Advertiser

2019 HDFNL COUNTDOWN: It’s time to move forward for Taylors Lake netballers

Sophie Heard, Taylors Lake.

Sophie Heard, Taylors Lake.

There is only so much rebuilding and developing a sporting club can go through when on a path of consolidation and improvement.
While winning is often only one indicator when measuring a team or club’s sporting success, it is ultimately important in confirming philosophy, direction and morale.
Just ask Taylors Lake netball coach Gab McCulloch, who has spent the first two years of a five-year plan nursing a willing group through tough weekly assignments against tough and unforgiving opponents.
McCulloch said in the countdown to the approaching season that she retained faith in a long-term growth and development plan, based on junior progression and consolidation through families.
But she stressed she was hopeful of seeing more on-court success this season.
“Our A Graders haven’t won a game in two years – something of which I’m more than aware,” she said.
“But winning straight away was never really the aim in our long-term plan.
“The plan was by the fifth year that our talented 15-year-old girls, who had enjoyed success, wouldn’t be 15 any more and the club had built strongly through internal support and family and player retention. That’s when I wanted to be able to be in a position to win A Grade finals.
“It has been about bringing children up to play against grown women, which was always going to be tough, and this was never going to lead to wins in the first couple of years.
“In those two years we’ve worked on young players’ mental strength and teaching them about wellness.
“Some of these girls have had to play two games every week for two years. But we’ve been working with them on nutrition, exercise, sleep, managing stress and self-reflection, so they aren’t blaming anyone for not winning or whatever else is happening in life.
“It’s been about retaining resources and developing young people. But this year I want to start work on winning games.
“The aim this year is to win two games in A Grade and two in B Grade. Time will tell.”
McCulloch is both A and B grade coach this year and part of the plan is to work on an interchangeable squad, where teams have depth to adequately cover player losses and remain strong and competitive.
“It’s more than promoting juniors – it’s about creating something for the future,” she said.
“We want to be able to create an A Grade squad through both sides, where players can play on various players in different positions,” she said.
“We want to be in a situation where if we lose players, perhaps through pregnancy, the team can still push on and play in the finals.
“Success will ultimately come through loyalty, strength and character borne from hardship.
“We’re building strong and resilient young people.
“What we ask of our juniors is to play a large role in club development because that’s the only way they are going to have success.
“I’m confident that our emerging juniors who have tasted success as youngsters, when given the role of playing in senior competition, will ultimately step up and provide a powerful backbone.
“A job we have this year is to create strong bodies and to pad them up with other senior players.”
McCulloch said the approaching season represented a mixture of hope, anticipation and confidence.
“We’ve had a lot of patience and this is the year we desperately need to take a step up and enjoy some winning success.
“We’ve had all sorts of wins when it comes to growth, development, culture and connectivity. What we now need is to translate that into wins on the court.”
Apart from promoting juniors, Taylors Lake also expects to welcome new players to the club.
“We aren’t losing many players and we will have some new faces,” McCulloch said.
The Lakers start official training at Dock Lake Reserve courts at 6.15pm tomorrow.
2019 coaches:
A and B grade:Gab McCulloch
C Grade and 17 and under:Michelle Wilde
C Reserve and Net Set Go:Kylie Camilleri
15 and under: Tammy McDonald

The entire February 6, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Feb 6 2019

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