Coach Stower "Let's talk selections"

Panther’s selections this year was always going to be tricky. In a previous article I talked about how probably my greatest strength, but also my greatest weakness as a coach, is that I get very emotionally attached to my players and often lose perspective when it comes to making those “hard” decisions.

I reflected A LOT in the off season. I replayed games over in my head by looking at statistics, I reflected on areas of the court where I felt we broke down, I revisited training attendance logs, and just generally kept asking myself “where did I go wrong”.

It definitely wasn’t through lack of trying, or lack of heart. We had that in bucket loads. I think this is what hurts so much when we can’t get over the line. We have had a fantastic group of girls, playing for one another, drama free. A supportive network of family and friends, and our Futures and Cubs who support our girls unconditionally. We have definitely built a strong pathway, a loyal and hardworking base of young women and girls who strive to be a Panther because of the community we have created, and the strong role models that the Panthers girls have become.

Unfortunately it just hasn’t been enough. After all this reflection, I decided I needed to bring somebody in that knows netball, knows what it takes to be successful and was honest enough to tell me what I needed to hear.

Enter Liz White. The most successful coach in Netball Queensland history.

She told me some things that I didn’t want to hear. She pointed out obvious flaws in areas of the court that I had my blinkers on to. It forced me to put on my “coach” glasses, and take off the glasses that were distorting my perspective. I worked hard to attain my Elite Coaching Accreditation. I know I have all the tools to make a successful team, I just lacked the ability to make those hard calls because the girls in our programs, well, many of them I have worked with and known since they were very young. Not only have I watched and been a part of their netball journeys, I have watched and shared with them their transition into young ladies and women.

Do you feel my dilemma?

I want to coach at higher levels in the near future. It is my passion. But if I can’t make those tough calls here, then I clearly don’t have the goods to aspire to more. I am competitive, so bloody competitive, but I have let that take a back seat with the excuse that we are young, or we are building……but we are just not getting over the line and as Head Coach, it’s my responsibility to lead the team, be accountable for the results of the past, learn from them and make 2020 Year of the Panther.

2020 is going to be about enforcing a winning culture. No more excuses. Everything Panthers will be doing will be about enforcing an environment that promotes a winning culture. We will be meticulous. We deserve that. The young players stepping up deserve that. Our team building day will very much focus on our ability to dig deep for one another, and find out what we are capable of achieving by pushing ourselves and each other like never before.

Our squad is a great balance of speed and strength, experience and youth. I am already feeling a shift in the air, because the girls know that change has come, and they will need to put the hard yards in to make the final 10.

My mantra for 2020, the words of the late, great Kobe Bryant….”If you’re going to be a leader, you’re not going to please everybody. You gotta hold people accountable. Even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable”.