NetGo Samoa takes its first steps
Teacher Lolina Matauaina has the dream of taking Samoa to the top of world netball.
Matauaina, who has played netball for over 18 years and has coached netball for almost a decade, attended the NetGo coaching workshop in Samoa this past week to gain vital insights into the coaching styles and knowledge that Netball New Zealand has to offer.
Netball New Zealand has set up the NetGO programme, through the Pacific Sporting Partnership (PSP), as part of the Sport for Health Activities funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It aims to not only teach netball to our Pacific neighbours, but to also encourage healthy lifestyles in their communities.
Matauaina attended her local workshop on Savai’i because she wants to give girls in Samoa the opportunities in sport that they might not otherwise have.
“There aren’t many growth opportunities in Netball,” she says “We hope that this programme will give us the skills and knowledge to coach our players. We want them to grow, to build their self-esteem and to compete on at the top level.
“To be honest, here in Savai’i, the netball progress is very slow. We don’t have many tournaments and that’s why our players don’t have the chance to move up and make the next level. Working hard every day and trying to stay motivated can be difficult when you don’t have something to look forward to, like a tournament.”
The NetGo coaching workshops in Samoa work directly with local teachers to teach them about the game of netball and how to coach. The programme also shows them how being part of sport can help build their overall well-being, including education of healthy behaviours.
“I’ve learnt that you need to balance everything for a healthy lifestyle. You shouldn’t eat too much food that contains lots of sugar, salt and fats,” Matauaina says. “You need to also get rid of sweet drinks and drink a lot of water. Doing exercise will help manage the food you are eating. If you are healthy then you will live longer and it can help you be a better player in the future.”
NetGo supplied each teacher who attended the programme with a coaching resource which included instructions for games and activities, and the most recent version of INF netball rules.
“At this workshop, I found out that some of the rules we still use are no longer rules, but we are still using them here. Now I know that those rules aren’t used anymore and we can also teach our umpires the new rules,” Matauaina says.
The NetGo programme will be carried out in Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands and Tonga over the next four years with the support from Netball New Zealand and the local netball associations. The aim is to increase the local coaches’ abilities to bring netball to their communities, develop the skills of the players, and increase participation in netball.
Matauaina can see young netballers in Samoa benefitting from NetGo in so many ways. “Netball is a fun game and I want to give our students the best opportunities so that they can one day have the chance to explore new atmospheres, and go new places, both in Samoa and internationally.”