Following the recent announcement of the expansion of the 2017 vitality netball super league we took the chance to ask the Severn Stars team a few questions..
Are you excited for the 2017 Superleague to begin? And which part of the season will you be most looking forward to? Really can't wait for the new season with the mix of teams new and old. It seems a long time to wait until 2017 however we have so much to do. I think the Midlands derby will be the best when the Severn Stars play Wasps.
Do you think the expansion of the netball super league will provide more coverage/attention to netball as a whole? Yes no doubt particularly with some new organisations getting involved and far more media interest over the recent announcements of coaches etc. There are new faces from around the world and also with the Scotland based club involved there will be more home nations interest.
How does your team try to encourage young aspiring netball-ers to take up the sport? Engaging with local schools and clubs is critical and selling the benefits of netball for health and wellbeing equally as important as selling the performance messages. We will use our ambassadors and athletes to provide workshops and coaching clinics far and wide within our designated area for the development of the next generation.
If you have any advice to aspiring netball Superleague players? What would this be? Commit fully to your club training programme and / or the academy programme. Being the best you can be is a prime focus and the results will take care of themselves if you keep an open and growth mindset. When it gets tough and you might be deselected or not bring your A game work even harder and listen to coach advice.
How does your team as a whole prepare for an event as big as the Superleague? This is all about building the foundations in pre-season and ensuring all athletes in the training group / long squad possess and individualised programme. Ensuring the team bond and sure the same values is critical for success and this is equally as important off the court as well as on the court. Again, possessing a positive and solution focussed outlook will best prepare your mind for the pressures of competition.
Are there any specific alterations you have to make to your preparations for the Superleague? We are a new super league club so have lots of tasks to complete before our players come into pre-season. Our coach Mo'onia Gerrard arrived late August and we may alter some programme components once the training squad is confirmed.
How does your training schedule change prior to the Superleague? Obviously matches will dictate the rest day and training for the week so overall the match day will dictate the changes required. There will need to be some lighter weeks or tapering given the demands on the athletes in the competitive phase.
What are your aims for this year's super league? Seeing as you're a new team to the Superleague. Our coach is very ambitious and we aim to be mid-table in year one although having an ex-Australian Diamond at the helm she is aiming to win as any coach will be at this stage. That said when the squad is known realistic targets are essential to motivate and maintain athletes focus on the task in hand.
If you could have any netball training aid, what would it be? A ball machine just like in tennis so a practice could start from multiple locations and the whereabouts of the ball an unknown until fired out for each practice group!