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    Charlotte Foulds will be back on the court for Nhill and this year will coach the 15 and under side.

2020 WNA COUNTDOWN: Nhill netballers focus on mental game


Developing individual players and building mental strength is at the crux of Nhill Tiger A Grade coach Melissa Polkinghorne’s approach to the 2020 Wimmera Netball Association season.

Polkinghorne, a first-time A Grade coach and former B Grade assistant coach, said she hoped a stripped-back training focus would reinvigorate the Tigers, who finished at the bottom of the 2019 ladder after failing to secure a win.

She said while the side would remain realistic about its upcoming season, she saw promise in concentrating on the mental side of the game more so than the physical. 

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“I really want to focus on mental toughness,” she said.

“A lot of the times the girls are just as fit as the other teams, but it is the mental side that seems to start to slip a quarter or two into the game.

“We started training in mid-January and we have just completed a training camp that has given us some ideas and strategies we can use.

“We had some speakers come along who talked about sport psychology and mindfulness.”

Polkinghorne said the Tigers were training on Tuesday nights at Nhill.

She said another key focus for pre-season was developing team cohesiveness, with the idea that this would translate to greater success on court for each of the club’s grades.

“There is a big emphasis on making it more of a fun and light-hearted environment,” she said.

“I really want to try to bring all our netball teams together as a whole and get the players to know each other more.

“Sometimes, you have players who won’t even know if another girl they are in a team with is right or left handed.

“I think it’s especially important because we don’t typically keep our players for too long. 

“A lot of the time our teams change over every two or so years, so it is important we can quickly build that cohesiveness and awareness.”

The Tigers will have a relatively similar look to last season, though with a few changes, most notably centre and wing Gorgia Sealey who is departing the club along with her partner. Polkinghorne said strong numbers and interest, however, had her confident in her side’s potential come the season start.

“A couple of players have dropped off in A Grade, so we are looking at a few new teachers, hospital workers and university students who might be able to travel,” she said.

“But most of the girls are probably coming back. Charlotte Foulds is one who is returning. She’s coaching under-15s again.

“We didn’t have enough numbers for an under-17 side, but we’ve definitely got enough for C Reserve. I just don’t think we have officially submitted a C Reserve team yet.”

Polkinghorne said the club had plans for a first pre-season practise match on March 12.  


A Grade: Melissa Polkinghorne

B Grade: Emma Dickinson

C Grade: Peta Foster

C Reserve: TBC

15 and under: Charlotte Foulds

13 and under: Elena James

The entire February 19, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!