Head, heart, humble vital to success

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Reinga Bloxham, head coach of the Southern Steel, looks on during the ANZ Premiership elimination final between the Southern Steel and Northern Stars at the ILT Stadium in Invercargill. Mandatory Photo Credit Photo: Dianne Manson/Michael Bradley Photography

WHEN you ask Southern Steel netball coach Reinga Bloxham about her coaching style there is a short answer.

“I’m calm.”

Needless to say it is often the outward appearance she exudes courtside week after week during the ANZ Premiership netball matches, however looks can be deceiving.

“That’s not to say inside I might be scrambling,” she says.

This will be her fourth season at the helm, steering a team which has won the title twice under her tutelage then losing to the Northern Stars in the elimination final last year.

Previous to that she was assistant coach for the team, aiding firstly Janine Southby then in 2016, sitting alongside current Silver Ferns’ coach Noeline Taurua.

It is not just the coaching nous she has gained learning from others, Bloxham also has vast experience on court being part of the Steel’s previous entity the Sting from 1998 to 2004.

This gives her insight what it’s like to be on court, what it’s like for players and what players need when you get to those crucial moments in the game

Calm is transferred from player to coach by giving clear and simple messages during a game, she says.

“I’m very concise with feedback and give simple and direct instructions too much to think about.”

In order to deliver those messages correctly she gets to know her players, knowing how they work and what makes them tick makes it easier for her to get the best out of them, she says.

Another way she creates her calm is the preparation ahead of each and every game.

“I like to feel planned and organised going into a game.

“I have probably thought about every scenario that should happen, will happen or could happen helps me remain calm and focused.”

Preparation ahead of this year’s season has seen games against Tactix and Pulse but the pivotal tournament was last weekend in Otaki, where the team got to try combinations and learn more about each other as well as play all the teams it will come up against in the premiership.

There were downsides with a few inconsistent stats they definitely won’t get away with once the premiership starts next week, she says.

However there was a lot to be pleased about too. “At the end of each quarter we kept building.

“We can still regather ourselves when we need to.”

Against the Pulse all players took to the court, including the training partners. “We still should be able to hold our own no matter who we put on the court. “Whoever’s on the court knows their goals.”

There are three key words Southern Steel is using during this year’s season head, heart, humble.

These are the crucial strengths which all need to be working together to make the team be the best it can.

Although Bloxham believes sometimes players get the humble part a bit too right.

“We are really good at being humble.

“Sometimes we don’t celebrate the good things that we do.”

Normally each year Bloxham says the thing she looks forward to most is the season beginning however this year she says it’s slightly different.

With only one new player and a couple of new training partners from the Beko team, she also can’t wait to see just how her players will develop.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how they evolve as a team.

“I think we’ve got the potential to track well.

“I think we’ve got players within our team who could be absolute stars for us.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what they produce each week.”

And no doubt with calm and preparedness, and the vocal Southern Steel supporters egging them on, this will be another memorable season.

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