NQ Coaching and Officiating Forum a major success

Netball Queensland’s Coaching and Officiating Forum, held last month at Nissan Arena, inspired more than 50 attendees as guest speakers from a variety of sporting and non-sporting areas shared their experiences and insights in sessions designed to help us all improve the way we deliver sport.

Netball Queensland General Manager Netball Leigh Gibbs said the forum was designed to help coaches, umpires and sport officials learn the latest trends and strategies in driving player enjoyment and engagement in organised sport.

“This is a forum designed for those who organise or deliver sports programs,” Gibbs said. “At Netball Queensland we understand the unique challenges that face those who work in the business of sports and so we brought thought leaders and sports insiders together to share their insights and experiences in a way that we could all learn from their experiences,” she said.

“The response was absolutely fantastic. We received strong feedback that this innovative event was exactly what many were looking for to boost their own professional development. We’ve also been told that the information shared has helped many in their aspirations to improve players, umpires, and officials’ experiences in sport,” she said. “It’s been a great success by all measures and I think we all have some learnings about how each of us can positively influence the experience of players, coaches, officials and administrators.”

Summary of sessions:

Genevieve Mahoney, a consultant and expert in customer experience and whose background includes positions at Coca-Cola Amatil and the AFL, provided simple strategies for enhancing the customer experience in a sporting context.  As the first session on the program, Genevieve got the forum off to a great start. Her strategies included adopting a customer-centric view and understanding the customer journey.

Asma Mohamed, Maia Tua-Davidson and Alice Shepherd are advocates for diversity and inclusion in sport and they spoke in a panel session about how we, as sports administrators, can embrace diversity in a sincere, effective and authentic way. Pitfalls often include creating capacity for athletes from diverse backgrounds without going the final step to making them feel personally welcomed to the sport. As it was succinctly put: “It’s the difference between being invited to the dance and being asked to dance.”

Research in the coaching space is progressing at a rapid rate and Dr Alex Gorman PhD and Alex Lascu (PhD Candidate) shared some of the latest findings and best practice along with what that means for us in a practical sense as coaches and officials.

Similarly, Tim Marshall, SSN Umpire, and Casey Reibelt, FFA Referee shared their insights into the journey of progressing through to higher levels of competition.  Casey’s stories about officiating at the Women’s Football World Cup and strategies for dealing with matches in front of 70,000 fans were fascinating.  It was great to get an insight into the similarities, successes and challenges both officials have experienced as their careers have grown.

One of the forum’s strengths is in drawing knowledge and experience from across codes and from non-sporting settings to inform and deliver insights.

Jaimie Battams is an accomplished violist as well as a netballer and her presentation drew parallels between the discipline and timing required for practice and orchestral performances and those of a netball team.

Laurel Collins spoke eloquently about the work required for an ensemble cast to come together for a performance and the balance between under- and over-preparing.

Chris McInnes has over 20 years’ experience building teams to solve complex problems and foster positive change across the Australian national security community. It was fascinating to hear about the OODA loop utilised by the military personnel as they Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.

The Forum finished on a fun note with our highly anticipated debate, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  Both our teams argued enthusiastically, ably guided by Madam Adjudicator Mel Bennett, making many pertinent points when considering winning, process versus outcome and the implications of winning at all costs.

Arguing the affirmative side was Justin White (Netball Queensland), Katie Walker (Carina Leagues Club Tigers) and Sally McKitrick (Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association).

And in the negative was Megan Gilchrist (UQ), Casey Bromilow (Newcastle Knights) and Laura Clemesha (Queensland Firebirds).

The negative side was triumphant, helped no doubt by Laura Clemesha’s final clinching statement, “Winning isn’t everything, striving to win is”, which attracted raucous applause from the audience.

The Coaching and Officiating Forum proved to be a resounding success and feedback has been so positive that we are already thinking about the content for the next Coaching and Officiating Forum in 2021

If you would like to be included on our mailing list to know more information about the next event, please email karen.topp@netballq.org.au.