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U23s Assistant Coach Jennie Webster on the importance of being a collaborative coach

U23s Assistant Coach Jennie Webster on the importance of being a collaborative coach

U23s Assistant Coach Jennie Webster OAM shares coaching and playing tips in the lead up to 2022 season

Jennie Webster OAM has been invaluable to the IMB South Coast Blaze U23s since she joined as Assistant Coach in 2021.

Jennie, who hails from Liverpool City Netball Association, has an impressive coaching resume. She has been a Premier League coach since its inception in 2016 and has a strong and very successful record of coaching Waratah Cup, State League, State and State Age Championships, Night InterDistrict and Summer Series.

Jennie says one of her greatest joys is seeing the growth and success of athletes in the Premier League, some of whom she coached when they were just starting out.

Some of these girls I’ve known since they were six or seven years old, and I’m so proud when I now see them making the Premier League,” she said.

We recently asked Jennie to share more about her coaching style and experience. Here’s what she told us.

Jennie Webster, headshot, South Coast Blaze U23s Assistant Coach

Jennie Webster OAM
U23s Assistant Coach

How would you describe your coaching style?

Over the years my coaching has evolved to be very much collaborative. I coach players ranging from Club and Rep – U12s – 15s; U17s and Metro along of course Premier League. This style works for me and my athletes where players are always included in the discussions when things are going well – we talk about what worked and why. It is also very effective when we stop and discuss what might not be working and why not? Players are involved in the discussions and what I find so important as it helps me understand what they really know and where more assistance is required. We work as a team where we are all part of the success and when there is a loss, we are all part of the learning process.

What do you enjoy most about coaching?

First of all the many friendships and relationships I have forged over the years with both coaches and players. It is just as important for the coaches and officials to feel a sense of belonging as it is for the players.

Secondly I really enjoy the challenge of working with all of my athletes, setting goals and continuing all the time to increase my knowledge as a coach and person. It is not just about coaching players. Coaches must be positive, enthusiastic, organised, focused and ‘know their stuff’. We must be good communicators, respectful whilst encouraging the players to be the best they can be not only as an athlete but also as a person – refining their netball skills of course, but learning about being a good and supportive teammate whether on or off court is also so important. There is always a good laugh and of course sessions are challenging but fun!


You have been a successful Junior and Senior State Titles Coach over the years winning many titles. What do you think is the key to your success?

I have always stated to anyone who might ask, that I pay a lot of attention to the essential skills of the game of netball. No matter the age or ability, I always spend considerable time at every session ensuring players are strong on the essential skills. Some call them basic but the game of netball is all about passing, catching, footwork, vision, agility, elevation, speed, change of direction, accuracy, reflexes and so much time is spent on many different types of drills and pairs work with my athletes to ensure they are able to execute all of those skills as second nature. Once those skills become strong habits, we work on game sense, strategies and individual skills to ensure the players are able to perform under pressure and remain very calm. I have always taken away with me, teams of 11 and 12 players and they know via their communication and experiences with me that all players receive considerable court time without ever talking about any percentage of play rules.

What is your best advice for coaches looking to get the best of their team?

Make sure you really know your individual players and what makes them tick. Be prepared at every session and ensure they are organised, varied and spend time on team and individual skills.


What is your best advice for upcoming players who want to play in the Premier League?

I have strong connections to all of my players. Sometimes players have trialled for Premier League maybe a bit before they are really ready and are disappointed when they see a lot of bench time.

For a player to keep loving the game of netball, they have to feel like they are always improving and the only way they can do that is by challenging themselves and being honest about “what level they are ….. at this point in time”.

Players don’t realise how much experience can be gained coming out of U15s (especially since Covid-19 with so little match play) by playing in Metro League which is an open age competition starting at 16 years old. Gaining a year or two from Metro League at age 16 and 17 makes all the difference for those players who have had a chance to work with more experienced players, and gain even more valuable experience playing against experienced players.

Sometimes young players feel their careers are over before they even begin if they are not selected into a Premier League side the first time they trial. My strongest advice is to be patient, play a year or two in Metro League (come and watch Premier League – or watch online – to see how much faster the game is and the size and stature of the players who can be up to 23 years old – there is considerable size and strength difference. A little patience and communication with players makes all the difference.

How will you and Regan be preparing for the U23s in the off-season?

Well, we don’t want to tell our secrets… but we will be no different to other franchises in knowing that it has been a long time since our players have been on court and it will take time to rebuild core strength and agility and so we will spend considerable time in ensuring the players are well, fit and ready for the new season commencing in April. It will be important not only to be fit but also match fit to hone all of the other skills that come with being match fit. There will be plenty of fun and variety in our sessions and the time will fly!

Let’s just hope that Covid-19 is well behind us all and we look forward to a strong season of netball.