Steel coach appointed to Netball World Cup role - March 22, 2023
New Zealand netball fans will see a familiar face amongst the coaching ranks of Wales Netball at the Netball World Cup (NWC23) in South Africa in July.
Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel head coach Reinga Bloxham has been appointed as a specialist coach for the Welsh Feathers, Wales’ national netball team, providing an unrivaled professional development opportunity at the sport’s top echelon.
A memorandum of Understanding agreement has now been completed with Netball New Zealand (NNZ), Netball South Zone and Wales Netball.
Bloxham is the second New Zealand coach to be assigned a support role with another nation at NWC23, testament to NNZ’s commitment to sharing expertise to benefit the evolution of the sport globally.
The appointment brings NNZ’s tally of coaches involved with NWC23 to five, including Silver Ferns coaches Dame Noeline Taurua and Deb Fuller, Fiji Pearls specialist coach Yvette McCausland and Taranaki Netball general Manager Jaqua Pori-Makea-Simpson, who is head coach of Tonga.
NNZ national coaching manager Tania Karauria said it was a great opportunity for Bloxham.
“It’s fantastic for another ANZ Premiership coach to have this experience on the international stage,” she said.
“We’re really grateful to be working with Netball South and Wales Netball to make it happen. I’m excited to see how our kiwi flavour of netball will be infused into the global game.”
Bloxham will join the Welsh Feathers coaching ranks at the end of the ANZ Premiership, arriving in Cardiff on June 15. She will support newly appointed head coach Emily Handyside in the final build up for NWC23, to be staged in Cape Town from July 28 to August 6.
She described the chance to be involved with the team and its coaching group as “a privilege”.
“Observing a World Cup from the outside would be great but to be involved in the preparation, the highs and lows of the World Cup itself and then the debrief process gives me a whole new level of learning and an understanding of what is required for international coaching,” Bloxham said.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of entering a new environment and being able to learn but also share my knowledge and coaching, particularly from a defensive perspective.
“Globally it’s an awesome initiative to grow us as coaches and work collaboratively to extend our skills and learn from new experiences and this has to be good for our game.”
A valuable High Performance Coach Development opportunity, the NNZ Ako Coaching Initiative is unique in its approach. In Te Ao Maori, the concept of ako means both to teach and to learn. It is underpinned by reciprocal relationships and recognises the knowledge that both coaches bring to learning interactions.
The shared vision is that two coaches from two countries will build a strength-based campaign which will optimise the performance of the Welsh Feathers at NWC23, at the same time as developing world class capabilities of a Wales and New Zealand head coach.
Key stakeholders acknowledged for their instrumental roles in getting the initiative up and running are NNZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie, Wales Netball chief executive Vicki Sutton and Netball South Zone chief executive Sonya Fleming.
“Reinga deserves this opportunity to coach on the world stage and I’m excited to see the knowledge she will gain from this experience and bring home,” Fleming said.
“As an organisation it is important to invest in our staff as we know the positive flow-on effect it has not only for our other netball coaches, but those from a variety of sporting codes. We all have a role to play in the future success of both sport and those guiding our athletes in the high performance arena.”