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All about Tracey!
I've coached for about 15 years - I started at Nathalia FNC once I moved there with my husband after my playing career with the Melbourne Kestrels finished.
I’m currently the Head Coach at the Shepparton Bears in the Goulbourn Valley League.
I am currently the Head Coach of the Victorian Under 17 team for the 2021 National Championships.
I started coaching at local footy netball in Nathalia. Previously, I’ve coached in the North East Zone Academy (now Talent Academy) and have been involved with the Victorian State teams on six occasions across various roles: Apprentice Coach, Assistant Coach and Specialist Coach.
It is challenging - my husband owns a business, I work and we have kids, but I have a great support network. I have aims and goals that I want to achieve in my life and so time management skills and making the most of travel time is important.
You don’t want to miss time with your family and you want to be present when you are with them so you have to be mindful of not letting your coaching impact on family time. It is difficult but with a good support network and communicating with people, I make the most of my time so I can spend time with my family and achieve my dreams.
It is more cutthroat at the elite level than it is at community level. Regionally, people are playing for, and representing their community, whereas at the elite level it is more about the elite team environment and individual athletes’ goals and what they want to achieve.
At community level you spend more time talking to players about their court time, place in the team and even life issues, whereas at the elite level it is all of the above plus more about their development and how you will help them achieve their goals.
The High-Performance athletes will drive the communication a lot more, so coaches and athletes work together to achieve their goal. Goal assessment tools are used, and they want to be involved in feedback and planning.
At the community level, there are a lot of things you would love to implement, but you can be limited by the time you get with your athletes. Typically, it’s 2 hours once a week plus a game. Whereas with High Performance athletes, you get much more time with them so you can extend them tactically and strategically.
You deliver the same things whether you are at the elite or community level, it is just how far you can take those things in the time you have with the teams that is different.
I have a very understanding husband and family, who support me to achieve my goals. The biggest struggle is definitely the travel and the extra time you have to allow to get to and from trainings and games. I live almost 3 hours from Melbourne one way, so I have to make the most of my travel time by making phone calls and touching base with my athletes, family and friends- you would be surprised how much you can get done on the way to or from a session.
It is important to understand that it comes with the role- the extra travel. You might not like it, but if you want to progress into the elite space, you have to do it. In the future, netball might change and there might be some regional State Trainings, or some more regional VNL Clubs- there are some great athletes coming from regional areas and we do need more training and opportunities in the country to keep developing our coaches, umpires, officials and athletes.
My number one tip is to surround yourself with supportive people. No matter what coaching role you take, or where it is located, make sure the people you will be working with support you and what you want to achieve. When you’re in that sort of environment it will grow your confidence and you will develop in many ways. That will help you move up the accreditation pathway and you won’t be as daunted to put your hand up for the “next level”.
I would also encourage people to take whatever role comes their way (if the environment is right for you). Just because you aren’t the Head Coach, doesn’t mean that you don’t get value out of that position. Keep open minded and be prepared to learn and think differently with every coaching group, athlete and team that you work with.