AFNA confident more certified coaches will aid developmentWednesday, May 05, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
THE Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) is confident that widening the pool of certified regional coaches will allow its member associations to be better equipped to compete against the best in the world.
Countries in the Americas have not been able to crack the dominance that top-ranked Australia, current world champions New Zealand, and — to a lesser extent — England have had in netball. Over the past two decades only Jamaica have had a World Cup podium finish, winning bronze in 2003 and 2007.
“We are about empowering our coaches with the knowledge to create that winning advantage,” AFNA secretary Bridget Adams told the Jamaica Observer in reference to the latest plans to improve coaching standards.
“We would like to certify every coach in the region so that our netball product can soar to new heights, thereby having more teams ranked higher, and not just have Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in the top 10 spots,” said Adams, a member of the INF Coaching Advisory Panel.
AFNA, headed by former Netball Jamaica President Marva Bernard, governs countries from the Caribbean, as well as South, Central and North America.
Though players from the region are viewed as some of the most talented in the world the International Netball Federation (INF) team rankings indicate otherwise.
Currently, Jamaica's senior team is ranked fourth in world netball, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago (10th) and Barbados (13th).
AFNA is banking on the roll-out of its Level Two Coaching Award, which is being executed virtually, to help bridge the gap between its members and the traditionally stronger netball nations.
“This level caters to participants 18 years and older. The Level Two netball coach will be able to plan, deliver and evaluate a series of linked and progressive netball coaching sessions, working independently although they may work as part of a larger coaching team,” Adams said.
“The qualification is recognised as the industry standard Level Two qualification for netball coaches by the International Netball Federation. The information delivered was gathered through valid research and consultation with a range of stakeholders, including INF's Coaching Advisory Panel. This is to streamline what we do in this region so that we will not be far behind the top nations.
“Aligning with this variety of expertise will ensure that our region will soon be speaking the same language in coaching and will take our coaches' skills to the next level,” she added.
Adams, a Trinidadian, said regional players also have to pull their weight.
“Our players must adjust to the physicality of the game and the umpiring at elite levels which must start with our member countries. Our fitness and endurance to play consistently for the hour-long game, the accuracy of shooters and the focus to stay the course mentally will increase our teams' ability to improve their rankings,” she explained.
As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to impact sport globally, Adams told the Observer that AFNA is exploring the practicality of hosting a quad series for regional Under-21 teams which were set to participate at the World Netball Youth tournament. The global event, which was slated to be held in Fiji, was cancelled due to safety concerns linked to the pandemic.
“No decision has been made on the host country due to the increase of COVID-19 cases [throughout] the region. We still have some time to make that decision, which will be discussed at our next meeting,” she said.
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