Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie faces a busy season ahead following her appointment as specialist coach for the Fiji Pearls for the Netball World Cup (NWC23) in South Africa in July.
In a unique development, the Ako Coaching Initiative NWC23 between Netball Fiji, Netball New Zealand (NNZ) and Netball Central Zone (NCZ) provides the first opportunity for one of New Zealand’s leading high performance coaches to work alongside and provide support to other nations at the upcoming NWC.
The 2022 ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year, McCausland-Durie will remain at the helm of the Pulse for the coming season while supporting Fiji head coach, Una Rokoura in the team’s preparation for the NWC. She will head to Suva on January 21 for a nine-day camp with the Pearls and will also travel with Fiji when they compete at NWC23.
``We chose next week for the training camp, in consultation with Fiji, as it will have the least impact on the Pulse and I will only miss three sessions in total,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
`` That was a big part of it to make sure that I remained committed here and I could be involved in the full programme with the Pulse.’’
Pulse assistant coach Anna Andrews-Tasola and specialist coach Wai Taumaunu will run the team during that time.
The Ako Coaching Initiative is a unique approach, underpinned by reciprocal relationships and recognises the knowledge that both coaches bring to learning interactions. Ako acknowledges the way that new knowledge and understandings can grow out of shared learning experiences.
``This is a great initiative with plenty of challenges involved,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``There’s a lot I don’t know particularly about them (Fiji) as a group, the culture and all those sorts of things, so there’s that side of wanting to learn more about that as much as the netball.
``This is a great extension about where you get your learnings from and I’ve had lots of opportunities in the past with coach mentors but this one is definitely more hands on and there’s nothing like being in the thick of it to see how it works.’’
During her extensive career, McCausland-Durie has only ever coached New Zealand teams which will mean a slight change in focus, initially.
``I think my approach is really about getting there and having a look at how they want to play the game, what that might look like and within that where I could fit into their strategy,’’ she said.
``From a coaching perspective, it’s more about understanding who’s in front of you and what the goals are that they are trying to achieve and then making sure I adapt and adjust to that.’’
There was no hesitation from NCZ who were quick to jump on board and provide full support for the rare opportunity.
``Supporting this opportunity for Yvette’s growth aligns with our guiding Kaupapa,’’ NCZ/Pulse CEO Fran Scholey said. ``We want Yvette to be the best Kaiwhakaako (coach) she can be and believe this will support her in those endeavours.
``When Netball NZ approached me about this opportunity it was about finding ways to not only support Yvette, but also when we think about succession planning within our environment (players and management), this allows opportunity for our future coaches also.
``We are incredibly grateful to all parties NNZ (Tania Karauria) and Fiji (Vivian Koster and RubyAnn Sorovaki) for the kotahitanga, the working together in order to realise the opportunities for all involved.’’
The shared vision is that two coaches from two countries will build a strength-based campaign that will optimise the performance of the Fiji Pearls at NWC23, at the same time as developing world class capabilities of a Fiji and New Zealand head coach.
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