Bahrain’s Netballers were put through an intensive four-day ‘Boot Camp’ training sessions last weekend by three visiting Netball England coaches courtesy of DHL Bahrain at the Bahrain Rugby Football Club in Saar, as the four squads - A Squad, B Squad (Social), Veterans and Youth are made up of around 40 players from the DHL Bahrain Expatriate Netball League prepare for the 31st Inter-Gulf Netball Championships in Dubai from March 9-11.
The three highly experienced visiting coaches were Gilly Salter and Sue Wainwright, who have both been to Bahrain around nine times each, over the past decade to conduct these training sessions, while it was a first time for Linda Dyer. Salter is an ex-England player and captain and is a current National Elite Selector, President of Netball South West and has also worked with England Talent Players at U19 and U.17levels and worked with Hucclecote Netball Club in Gloucestershire at all levels including Premiership UK Division One.
Outside of Netball, she runs G S Consultancy, a Management Development and Training Company designed to deliver Leadership, Management Training, Customer Service and outdoor team building. “I am working primarily with the A Squad and from last year, around five members of the squad remain with some new faces including some of the youngsters stepping up, which is great to see. Among the things I am working on is helping them develop defending skills, interceptions, marking and cutting off angles,” said Salter.
She also noted that the players seem to be stronger and their ability has improved, “I am told that the local league has more strength in depth and is much more competitive, which helps to raise standards. The intensive training lasts for six weeks and I hope with the added distribution of DVD’s, the girls can learn from them and improve technique and technical play before the Championships,” said Salter. Wainwright is the Chair of Hucclecote NC and former founder of the club over 25 years ago and County Head Scout. The Ex-Gloucestershire County Netball Player and coached at Premiership level within Hucclecote NC in Divison One. She is a recently retired PE Teacher and each year she scouts over 200 players in the County and South West and is with Hucclecote NC, which is the fifth biggest club in the country with thriving U-14, U-16 and U-19s teams all gaining places at National Finals and securing top 10 positions and has over 200 members, winning the ‘Outstanding Netball Club Award’ title last year.
Boot Camps for ‘Carly’
Wainwright has been working with the Veterans and the Youth squads. “I am delighted to be back in Bahrain and assisting two great coaches and working with the Veterans and Youth squads and also coaching and passing on my experience to the 6 to 10 year olds at a couple of sessions in the Dilmun Club,” said Wainwright. Dyer on a first visit to Bahrain is an ex-England Netball international and during the 1980’s played in the same team as Salter where they won a test series in Jamaica in 1981. She is a qualified teacher taking early retirement and is qualified to deliver the UK CC Coaching Qualifications at L1 and L2. She has also coached in the Premiership in England and in 2014 gained a role with Netball Europe where she is a Competition Manager organising the European Championships each year and also organisers various leagues and workshops in the South West. “I’ve been working really hard with all four squads on netball basics, including balance, control and making them work together as team units,” said Dyer.
These annual ‘Boot Camps’ are also designed to help raise funds for former Hucclecote player Carly Taylor through the charity Carly Taylor Fighting Back, to help with her rehabilitation after suffering a horrendous accident some years back, when she broke three vertebrae in her neck, leaving her paralysed from the neck down. Before the accident, Taylor had played twice at the Gulf Championships for Hucclecote as an invitational team. “Carly is improving slightly and is currently in Miami undergoing therapy using electrodes to the head to try and stimulate the nerves and it is a very costly treatment. Since our last visit Carly has got married to longtime boyfriend Nelly who is also her full-time carer,” said Salter.
As for Netball in England, the coaches collectively say it is thriving and more and more are getting involved and becoming highly professional compared with before, while developing the game in mainland Europe is an ongoing process.