Katie Holder is a netball coach in the UK with many roles! ?As well as being Director of netball at an independent school, she is also Head Coach for junior teams as well as a National Performance League Coach at?Hucclecote Netball Club.
Working with such a wide variety of ages and abilities allows Katie to coach players who are just starting, right through to senior level as well as proving them a pathway for high performance success.
Katie shares with us her journey as a netball coach and gives a few bits of advice for any budding notable coaches out there and how they can achieve their ambitions of reaching performance level coaching…
Can you tell us about your current coaching role and what does a typical week look like for you?
I coach a wide variety of Athletes within Netball. My job at Dean Close School allows me to work with girls who are just starting their netball journey at 9 years old right the way through to the 1st Team who are accomplished senior players.
I also coach the National Premier Squad at Hucclecote Netball Club. As one of the largest performance clubs in the South West of England I am working within one of the top level leagues in England. The players range from youngsters getting their first taste of premiership netball through to Superleague players and players who have represented their country. Expectations are high and it is, at times, a very pressurized environment.
My most recent coaching role is with new Superleague franchise Severn Stars. I am head coach for the U19 and U21 squads. Both teams play in the National Performance League NPL and are recognized as the most talented players in the country. This exciting role has allowed me to work alongside an excellent coaching team and with talented youngsters working hard to achieve National recognition.
My typical week is BUSY !! I work in excess of 25 hours a week in my school environment. In addition, I am out two nights a week delivering court sessions for Hucclecote and Severn Stars. Matches occur at weekends sometimes on both Saturday and Sundays.
How did your journey begin in Netball and how did it lead to where you are now? Can you give us a brief coaching history.
I almost fell into coaching inadvertently!! I played netball at school but switched to Basketball as my PE teacher at the time was part of the National Coaching Team. I eventually found my way back to netball and joined my local club in Cheltenham. What started as just taking the warm up quickly developed to me taking my Level 1 and then my Level 2. I was approached by Hucclecote to join them and the rest fell into place. I embarked on my Level 3, passing in 2012, and progressed through Hucclecote’s Regional Squads coaching both Regional 2 and Regional 1. This season was the pinnacle when I became coach for their National Prem Squad playing in England Netball’s Premier League 2.
What are your ultimate ambitions for your coaching career and what will you need to undertake to get to that end goal?
I still feel like I am learning all the time. I really hope that by immersing myself in the performance coaching environment I can continue to work alongside talented players and coaches. Severn Stars and Hucclecote have both provided me with an exceptional learning environment. I think that it is important for a coach to continually seek out CPD and develop not only in their own sport but by observing other coaches from other sports too. Hopefully in the not too distant future I can gain experience in the Superleague.
If England Netball and UKCC decide to write a Level 4 course, I would be first in line to do that.
With netball being so female dominated I n participation, are there a wealth of women wanting to move from competing to coaching / umpiring / leading the sport, or does netball suffer with similar issues with other sports in attracting women into leadership roles?
Some off the top level coaches in netball have moved into coaching once their playing days have ended. For example, the England Head Coach Tracey Neville. She had an extremely successful playing career and now has the top coaching role. Many of the Superleague Franchises have appointed ex international players as their Directors of Netball (Pamela Cookey, Tamsin Greenway) and these Women are having a huge impact on Netball. We have also seen many Southern Hemisphere coaches bringing their knowledge and expertise to English Leagues. Therefore, I do think many Woman move from competing to leadership roles and not just at the top end. Many local league and social clubs will have Woman taking on organizational roles as well as coaching and umpiring.
How does the netball coaching pathway work in the UK – if a newly qualified Level 1 Coach has the ambition to become an elite club or national coach, what does that journey look like?
England Netball have a 5 tier performance pathway. The initial stage is Satellite Academies which work with Athletes building the foundations of various components of netball. If Athletes progress they then attend County Academies. Coaches deliver programs outlined by England Netball aimed at preparing Athletes for the next stage ? Regional Academy. These Academies offer individualized year round training environments delivering between 3-4 hours of coaching per week. Athletes that are identified to progress further then move into Regional Performance Academies. The hours of training increase and Athletes may also gain exposure in U19/U17 England Squads. The final tier which is the target for all academy Athletes is National Academy. This operates via weekend camps bringing together the best U17 and U19 players in the country.
Newly qualified Level 1 coaches can definitely gain experience within the pathway. Each academy offers assistant coach roles which provide fantastic opportunities for L1 coaches to work alongside experienced L2/L3 coaches learning along the way. Also working with talented academy Athletes will provide a new coach with an insight to performance coaching at various different stages of the pathway.
What advice would you give to amateur netballers who perhaps take part in a programme such as Back 2 Netball and have an ambition of becoming a qualified coach?
I would say go for it. I coached a Back to Netball group when the initiative was first rolled out by England Netball. From the 20 ladies that participated I know that 3 went on to do their Level 1 and 2 of those progressed to complete their Level 2. These Women now play for Clubs and coach regularly. If you have a passion for Netball, then coaching is a great way to positively pass on your enthusiasm and knowledge. It started out as a hobby for me,?but it is now my career and I absolutely love it.