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Who’s to blame?

As you may know, I am a real netball fan. I was so disappointed, as many netball fans were, at the performance of the team in the recent Commonwealth Games. After recovering from the initial shock, I would like to dig a bit deeper and analyse what went wrong for the girls.

With any lack of performance or under-achievement there are always questions to be asked. The question in this blog is – who is to blame? Did the girl’s choke? Was it a coaching error? I can imagine there is going to be some serious soul searching. Sara Bayman was very critical of the team’s performance in the bronze medal play-off where England lost 48 to Jamaica 52. Mid-courter Bayman felt that there were too many simple mistakes that cost them the match. She was quick to state that the girls did not step up when it mattered: “if you don’t bring it in International matches then this is what happens.”

The decisive match against New Zealand was agonising to watch. England fell to a one-goal defeat in the final few seconds in a result that could’ve changed the face of the competition. Despite a stunning effort from the entire squad, England just couldn’t hold out until the final whistle and it was young Goal Attack Kadeen Corbin who made the poor pass, allowing New Zealand to score the winner. Corbin, like all of the England girls, was clearly feeling the pressure of this high-stakes game, and no doubt she will replay that moment in her mind for many years to come. But in sport, individuals don’t make or break teams, and we can’t hold Corbin responsible for the loss. It was clear that this young player was tired and feeling the pressure – surely this was a problem for the coaching staff to address and to adjust the team accordingly? That is an issue that the performance team at England Netball will have to answer for themselves. But it begs the question – how much responsibility is on the players and how much lies on the coach’s shoulders?

There will be a great deal of time for reflection after the disappointment before the ladies get ready for the Netball World Cup just a year away. I personally still think this is a great side and maybe, just maybe, a loss like this will make them come back stronger. This is often the case with many great teams.

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