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Debbie Laycock -

Netball World Cup; Coaching Observations


I was up at Liverpool last weekend and made a concerted effort, in amongst the excitement, to try and focus on the coaches! What they might be thinking, what they were doing before, during and after matches and what their behaviour and body language tell us. There were some interesting observations made!

I’ll start with the England v Uganda match, because, let’s face it, it’s a home World Cup and everyone is talking about the England Roses!

In case you don’t know, England were expected to win but it wasn’t going to be a walkover and Uganda have numerous talented players – none more so than Peace Proscovia. (Her story is definitely worth a google search)

England were worthy winners (64-32) but we saw the first (and only, so far) sending off in the competition with the Ugandan C first sent off for 2 mins in the third quarter, then sent off for good, meaning her side played with just 6 players, for the majority of the last quarter.

Her reaction was to high five her bench personnel including the coaches and support staff. Not much has been made of it and I suspect if it was a closer game or in the latter stages of competition, we would have heard a lot more!

Surely though, no matter what the sport, level or age of participants, the Coach and support staff have a responsibility for sportsmanship & fair play?

I would imagine this shows a naivety from Uganda, at this level opposed to any type of malicious intent. At least I hope so!

In stark contrast Tracey Neville was the picture of professionalism we have come to expect. Yes, she wears her heart on her sleeve and you can tell she’s hurt about Layla Guscoth’s injury. She hugged every single one of her players after the Ugandan match though – not a show of emotion or togetherness I have seen from other coaches at the Netball World Cup so far.

With the exciting evolution of netball, the interest, the sponsorship and the broadcast responsibilities, comes the ‘chore’ of coaches speaking to the media directly after the games.

Thank goodness we’re not witnessing the half time interviews with players or mid quarter chats with coaches, from the bench, that Suncorp Super Netball endure. Its a personal pet hate and for me, completely unnecessary.

Coaches from the top nations are used to this ‘intrusion’ and Lisa Alexander, in particular, I feel, has got the delivery of a sound bite without actually revealing anything, down to a fine art!

Coaches not used to this immediate questioning reveal a bit more and tend to have a bit more to say – perhaps finding it all a bit of a novelty!


Bio: Debbie Laycock

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