Grangetown Netball Club travel down to Worcester tomorrow for their second fixture in the new National Premier League 2 season. For the division’s only north east club, their nine away trips will involve travelling over 4,000 miles, but coach Linzi Filiata is becoming used to much longer distances.
Linzi is Netball New Zealand’s Coach Development Officer and last week she flew halfway around the world to make a welcome return to the club she’d worked with earlier this year.
“Geraldine [Williams, Grangetown Head Coach] asked me to come back and develop on what we were doing last season, so here I am!” explained Linzi. “This is only a short visit, but I will be coming back with my family in December, and we’ll be here for about two and a half months.”
Linzi took charge of the team for the opening game of the campaign; a narrow home defeat to newcomers Ryland. “I arrived in the country on the Friday, but was able to have a quick run through with the girls on Saturday afternoon. They’ve definitely built on the work we did last season, and it was a good first hit up. You could tell they were a bit rusty. So were Ryland, but we were... rustier!
“Obviously there’s a long break over the summer and they’ve gone off and done their own things, and on the Saturday run though I could tell it had been a while since they’d passed a ball to each other, but I don’t think there’s any reason to panic—everybody’s in the same boat.
“We had a long chat on Monday about what the Prem squad looks like going forward, the commitment levels and everything that has to happen for us to keep progressing. I’ve given the shooters and mid-court players routines to work on while I’m away and when I come back, we can focus on performing at a different level.
“I’ve got faith that the wider squad we’ve got can do the job; and I know that the more you train and play together the more those connections grow. On Sunday we had three shooters and all of them had a bad game; usually there’s one of them that’s holding the fort so to speak, but there was nothing to fall back to because there were no structures in place.
“I’m very much about working with what we’ve got,” Linzi continued. “These girls are talented; it’s just about doing the hard work, doing the hard yards, committing to training. I know there are mums in the squad and there’s lots going on, but it’s just about prioritising—even that one session a week on the Monday. But even that can be hard on the back of an away trip; we’re going to Worcester on Sunday, which is a long day, then you’re training on the Monday, but it’s just what you have to do.”
Fast forward to 2016 and what does Linzi hope to achieve in terms of the Prem squad? “I am looking to give the girls a solid structured base which they can build on—something we’ve already started—and for them to have that team cohesion and unity, and understanding of where we’re trying to get to and how they can get there. At Prem level we’ll get to the point where I’ve given them everything and it’s just repetition, practice, doing it differently and doing it under pressure. So I’ll give them everything they need so that when I come back it’ll just be a case of refining the structures we’ve put in place.
“For now though, I’m just excited to be back; Grangetown is a great club, and I’m really looking forward to bringing my family over and helping the club develop on and off the court.”