Netball coach Sally Cain is hoping to make her mark at a national level following her recent appointment as apprentice coach for the NSW under 17s nationals team.
The Blaxland High School English teacher will be heading off to Brisbane next year to assist in the preparation and coaching of the young team.
Cain has been playing netball since age eight, starting with Macquarie Netball Club and progressing through Hawkesbury netball and on to Netball NSW.
“This provided a solid foundation for my playing opportunities,” the 29-year-old said.
She has a large amount of experience having played at the top level of netball for a decade.
“I was fortunate enough to play State League One from the age of 17 to 27 ... I was selected for numerous NSW State under-age teams, a NSW Institute of Sport Scholarship and in the Australian National League for the NSW Waratahs,” said Cain.
At 15 she began coaching Macquarie’s Net Set Go team, teaching kids to play netball in a fun and social environment.
From there Cain coached at a variety of levels in the NSW netball community.
She has been a part of teams in the regional and state school systems for the past five years including: NSW 15s Combined Public High Schools coach for five years, NSW 15s All Schools head coach for three years – where they finished second at the Australian School Sport Netball Championships.
Cain continues to coach in the Hawkesbury, having coached Hawkesbury Netball’s under 12s representative team earlier this year.
Being a teacher has really equipped Cain to be a coach.
“Preparation is key. Having a plan and targeting sessions to individual player growth and team goals is important,” she said.
“Just as important is ensuring that the athletes are learning in a supportive environment.”
Being selected as the apprentice coach is a great opportunity as she will have the chance to coach under Amber Cross and Rebecca Bulley – a former Australian Diamond and Giants netball player.
Cain said she enjoys being in an “environment where you can harness young athletes’ enthusiasm and their eagerness to learn… It is a great opportunity for me to pass on my knowledge.”
She hopes to improve her ability to coach, collaboratively working not only with Cross and Bulley but also with many of the players, who she wants to help “get the most out of their game”.
Cain wants to give back to the sport which has given her so much and hopes to continue working with Netball NSW in developing young players.
Along with her fellow coaches and the NSW under 17s team, Cain will head to Brisbane in April 2019 for the nationals competition.