We Need to Know How to Win


With the Panthers trials coming up in a few weeks, my mind has been going 100 miles an hour reflecting on the season that was. I have a thousand little bits of paper where I have jotted down ideas on team culture, training structures, mindset, and most importantly, as Head Coach, what can I do better to bring the best out in my players.

Seven words keep popping up in my thoughts.

“We need to know how to win”.

Upon reflection, our team culture was magnificent. All 12 players on the roster were committed to themselves, the team, our coaching staff…..and all that Panthers stands for.

“We need to know how to win”.

Our training structures were productive. We had full team input about what we needed to target each week. We knew our main downfall was match fitness, which heavily impacted consistency. We addressed it well, by structuring training with a heavy focus on decision making under fatigue. What we know is that we will start that much earlier in pre-season this year. We will also spend more time on full court and unit structures.

“We need to know how to win”.

Mindset. What I have learned is that being positive, supportive and committed in mind and body is not enough. In a number of games we fell short of the win. Only just. The team, the supporters, they were ecstatic after those marginal losses. I was not. But I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer and seem like a negative naysayer. In each of those games, there were points were we just needed to get ourselves over that line and turn the game. But we didn’t. We had heart, we had fight, we had focus, we had team comradery…..but we lacked that X Factor. I like to call it Mongrel. The Mongrel that can bring us the sweet taste of victory. One win was all we needed to taste it, and know how truly sweet it is.

“We need to know how to win”.

My job is to bring all this together. My job is to know my athletes as individuals, as people, what makes them tick. I am netball coach, I am mother, I am councilor, I am psychologist, I am advisor, I am mediator. I wear many hats, but at the end of the day, I will wear those hats, I will keep learning new ways and self reflecting and I will be the best I can be so I can, in turn, bring out the best in my players.

I know my biggest flaw as a coach is that I get emotionally attached to my players. Some will say it’s an asset, but at this level it is not. Sometimes I need to make hard decisions. Sometimes I need to have a better perspective. The emotional attachment can be detrimental in this decision making process at times. It can be difficult, as Panthers has always been about family; a sisterhood. For me, I don’t see any point in having this mantra if I am not going to live it.

I am bringing in an experienced, independent selector for trials this year. For the trials, fresh eyes, by somebody who knows what it takes to play at this level, and can give me a good, honest appraisal of what is before me may be just what the Doctor ordered. My word of advice to all those who have registered, or are intending on registering for trials: you need to bring it, don’t take anything for granted. Be prepared – undertake your own conditioning. Pick up a ball and get out against the wall, shooters go to post. It’s been a while since netball finished….I want to see who truly wants to be a Panther.

2020 WILL be the Year of the Panthers.

Because we are GOING TO KNOW HOW TO WIN.

Coach Stower