Eight teams. Two coaches.

It’s the kind of maths equation that thousands of netball and other sporting clubs globally are grappling with how to solve each and every season.

Anyone involved in local sport knows all too well that it’s getting harder and harder to get people to put their hand up and volunteer to coach junior sport.

I’ve had two conversations just in the last week with clubs that have huge numbers of kids signed up to play the game, but nowhere near enough coaches to coach them.


We get it – everyone’s busy. But so are the people who ‘take one for the team’ and give up the precious little time they do have, to coach.

Too often it’s left to the same handful of good samaritans to carry the load year after year, which inevitably leads to burnout and coaches leaving the game.

So what are some things that your club can do to lower the barrier to entry for coaches, and encourage others to pick up a clipboard and take on a role that we know can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do?


This one’s an easy one. While clubs might not have the funds to pay coaches, if a player or parent coaches a team, covering the player’s season fees is the least the club can do.

It might only be a small gesture, but it’s a great little bonus for coaches not to have to fork out money for the season, and it demonstrates that you value their time and commitment.

You might also consider covering their ticket costs to club events, so that those donating their time are not also the ones continually putting their hands in their pockets.


No one wants to forfeit a game or withdraw a team, because at the end of the day it’s the kids who lose out. But when all other options are exhausted, the threat of a team not being able to take the court is often enough to prompt someone to emerge and fill the void.

Ultimately the club needs to be prepared to follow through on it, and not appoint a stand-in coach “until we find someone”, as this only perpetuates the underlying belief that the club will fix the problem.


You might have many untapped potential coaches within your netball community who are reluctant to put themselves out there because they’ve never coached before and aren’t quite sure where they’d start.

Without blowing our trumpet too hard, this is one of the reasons I started – to give coaches a leg up when they’re starting out, and give them something they can refer to when planning their sessions.

Supporting your coaches with a good coaching resource – so that creating sessions and educating themselves on the game doesn’t fall completely on their own shoulders – is a good way to break down one of the biggest barriers to entry for volunteer coaches.


Each coach and team doesn’t have to be on its own little island.

If you’re lucky enough to have some experienced coaches within your coaching cohort, why not have them support the newbies by providing a bit of mentoring throughout the season?

Having someone to bounce questions off or take a look at things that are happening in games or at training can be a huge help for first-time coaches, boosting their confidence and vastly increasing the chances of retaining them for more than one season.


One of the most important things you can do to is to ensure that the coaches who HAVE volunteered enjoy the experience and feel safe and supported.

This means a zero tolerance approach to poor sideline behaviour or ‘backseat coaching’ from other parents, coaches or players.

If they want to have an opinion, they’re more than welcome to volunteer to coach a team! But until then, everybody near that court should be there purely to support the players and the coach. If they can’t help themselves, a quiet word from the committee might be appropriate. If it continues, netball doesn’t want you there.

How do you tackle the challenge of coach recruitment at your club or association? Share your thoughts by commenting on our social media post or in the comments below.

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