Netball Expert & Columnist
Tamsin Greenway discusses taking Scottish Thistles head coach role
Last Updated: 07/02/20 5:07pm
With the news Tamsin Greenway is the new head coach of the Scotland Thistles, she shares her reasons for taking the role, her excitement at working with such a forward-thinking nation and being able to balance her family life and her career ambitions.
Coaching, and being on a netball court, is my passion and it's the ultimate goal to be able to coach internationally. I know that there's going to be a lot of learning for me in this role, my first as an international head coach, but I'm excited to do that and to take on this challenge.
After having some time off from full-time coaching, and absolutely loving the opportunities I had during that time, it's been no secret that I've wanted to get back to coaching.
The Netball World Cup in Liverpool was an incredible event for the sport and being part of the Sky Sports team allowed me to be as close as I possibly could to the action. But, nothing quite beats being in the heart of a team environment.
I did think that the door was shut for me in terms of coaching, but when this opportunity came up and I had a conversation with Claire Nelson and Karen Atkinson, it jumped at me as being the perfect fit.
Coaching internationally was the next step and what I love about Netball Scotland is the fact that I'm going to be working with a nation that's so forward-thinking. It's about the whole picture, driving success both on and off the court.
It will be incredibly exciting to work with Karen, something that we've never done before, and also to be able to work first-hand with Claire. Commercially, as Netball Scotland CEO, she's really pushing the sport forward, in an innovative way, and is driving it to reach new heights in Scotland.
When it comes to my first steps in the role, those who know me will not be surprised to hear me say that it all starts with the culture. It's about having, and creating, a culture that's built with the players in mind and one that fits us all.
International coaching is going to be different to what I've known before. I won't have the players with me all of the time, that will be new, and there will be different challenges in terms of access, match play and understanding new styles, but it's a challenge I'm ready for.
From playing, and then coaching in Superleague, I do 'know' quite a few of the players but not in this capacity. So the first step is getting to know them all and then building the vision alongside the team and evolving it together.
On the court, I'm a big advocate of leading with passion and understanding what it takes to win.
In terms of our style, I have a defensive style that I like to play, something that was key through my coaching days with Surrey Storm and Wasps Netball, and an attacking style. I like to build a team very much around a WA and a GD, they have always been my key areas.
One of my first goals will be to work out who the leaders are within the group and how best a style might fit the team.
I'm under no illusions that the teams I've had in Superleague, I've managed to build myself, personnel-wise. Internationally, it's very different but you have the best players in the country coming together and it's my job to ensure that they blend together in the most effective way.
As you'd expect, Netball Scotland have a vision for the progression of the Scottish Thistles from now through until the next Netball World Cup in South Africa in 2023 and like every nation, it does involve rankings. It's great to have an understanding of this vision already and it certainly helps to shape my planning and work moving forwards.
What I saw at the last Netball World Cup, and what I've seen internationally over the last 15 years, is that the gap has closed at the very top and then you've got a wealth of teams, including the home nations, pushing up on them too.
Not every side has opportunities to face each other outside of the big competitions, though. One of the things which really enticed me to Netball Scotland is the way they're thinking about the future, the ideas they have and the planning going into this next cycle.
Karen and Claire both have great visions and for me to be able to work with such creative people in that regard is another exciting element.
On a personal note, when it comes to this opportunity having something which fitted in with my family was key. It also allows me to maintain my identity as a person too.
The minute that you have a baby, your first or if you add to your family, everyone has an opinion on how it should or shouldn't work. Everyone has advice on what you should or shouldn't do.
Netball is who I am, it's what I do and love. I have the full support of my family when it comes to taking on this role and I think it's incredibly important to show that you can do both, you can have a family life and also a career with aspirations and goals too, you don't have to choose.
Netball Scotland have been great about that, Claire has already shared with me that she's the 'baby whisperer' and Casey will be joining me with when it comes to my first meeting in Scotland.
It will be second nature for him, just like it was for Jamie. She grew up around netball courts and has just joined her first netball club. For me, netball remains a real positive for all of us within our lives.
Back to the Scottish court and there's great talent housed within the Scottish Thistles from the experienced Claire Maxwell, who I have played against for so many years, to teenager Emma Barrie and Emily Nicholl has caught my eye from afar as well.
They always say when one door shuts another one opens and I'm so pleased it did. I'm thrilled that I get a chance to continue my netball journey and can't wait to see what the next few years bring.