Netball Expert & Columnist
Vitality Netball Superleague: Tamsin Greenway discusses huge swings in scorelines
Last Updated: 13/03/20 1:39pm
In this week’s column, Tamsin Greenway takes a look at an unusual trend that has emerged over the first three rounds of the Vitality Netball Superleague season, the potential implications of it and how it can be tackled.
This week, I want to discuss the huge swings in the scorelines we've witnessed in several games so far this season.
It's appeared as a clear pattern during some of the 15 matches and is an issue that I think needs to be looked at, discussed and acted upon.
Although I'm aware that teams are still finding their feet, there's a reason that we have pre-season. That's been and gone and right now it is competition time.
So, although I'd expect to see three to five-goal swings between quarters in these early rounds, I wouldn't expect to see the huge shifts that there have been.
You only have to look at the scores from the encounters below, and the amount of teams involved, to see that it's not just an isolated problem.
Vitality Netball Superleague Results
|R1||Saracens Mavericks vs Severn Stars||11-17||23-8|
|R2||L'boro Lightning vs Strathclyde Sirens||7-16||18-9|
|Surrey Storm vs London Pulse||6-19||18-9|
|R3||Team Bath vs Wasps Netball||17-17||17-10|
|Manchester Thunder vs L’boro Lightning||17-16||11-20||18-19||21-9|
The swings are quite something aren't they? The question is, why are they happening? I think there are a few contributing factors.
Across the teams this season we're seeing a new breed of young players coming through. With that always comes a slightly higher error rate as these players are effectively learning the elite game on the job.
We all know that to be as competitive as possible, you need to go goal-for-goal with your opponent and that's only possible if you have a low error rate as a team. With new inexperienced players that isn't always possible.
However it's not the actual error itself that concerns me, they happen all time. It's the nature of them, the timing and that we're seeing two or three happening on the bounce. And, it's certainly not just a young-player issue. This is about the whole team, their accountability and their culture.
A focus on skills...
The amount of time that these Superleague players are able to train needs to increase.
The nature of the errors that we've been seeing, and the ones that have been leading to these swings in scoreline, point towards the need to boost overall skill levels in England. Unforced errors like offsides, loose hands, and wayward passing should be (and can be) prevented.
However, for players to be able to do that, it fits into to the wider picture of having more time on court and in training.
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If Superleague teams are able to train more, and players are too by the virtue of them being semi-professional or professional athletes, then these types of errors would be reduced.
How do you achieve that? Well it all falls back to getting more financial support into the game so that it's possible for teams and players to train more. It also begins at grassroots level.
We've nailed all of the fitness and the S&C aspects over here but in England, I feel certain skill levels are behind where they should be.
My concerns with these swings are that they could directly impact on player performances on the international stage.
Unless we begin to see this trend within domestic matches in Australia and New Zealand, then I think that if this type of behaviour and goal-swing becomes the norm in Superleague matches, it could translate into a problem.
It's a slippery slope if players get into the habit of giving away huge margins with a 'tricky' quarter because they can claw it back the next. Four or five goals, maybe, but 10 or 11? I'm not convinced.
When it comes to meeting the likes of Australia and New Zealand there's no way that you can lose a quarter by 19-6 and expect to come away with a victory.
Fisher's diary: Uni, netball and the season so far
In her latest column, George Fisher talks juggling uni and netball as well as reflecting on Saracens Mavericks' start to the season.
If you want to start competing internationally then if a team-mate misses a shot, the next attempts have to go to goal.
Or if an error is made, then a second or third can't follow. Instead, responsibility has to be taken to ensure that an error is an exception and not the norm within a quarter. It's a mindset and it's about accountability.
The fact that this isn't happening right now in Superleague is a wake-up call. If players take that same behaviour onto the international stage, then it will start to produce the type of gaps that we don't want to see ever again at that level.
Where does it go from here?
I would like to see teams and coaches reacting to this trend of big swings now. I'd like to see it managed over the season and spoken about openly too.
It's not a negative to accept that players make mistakes, but they need to learn from their mistakes - the best players will take it on board and want to improve.
Many Superleague players have international aspirations and they need to take positive habits from the league.
There's a huge coaching element to look at too. When leads are created, what's the mindset and the focus? How do you build upon a lead? What are the pre-emptive moves to enhance a lead?
Also, how will a team counteract situations? Which players make an impact and which partnerships work under pressure? There are so many elements to it. It's a massive learning curve and a headache for a coach when consistency is an issue.
So far I've loved the drama, passion and fight I've seen from the teams this season. I now want to see that mental strength transfer into goal-for-goal games, with players sticking to task for longer and being accountable for what they put out there. The first team to nail it this year will be very difficult to beat.
Live coverage of the Vitality Netball Superleague season is set to continue on Monday when Loughborough Lightning host Saracens Mavericks. Join us on Sky Sports Arena, Mix and YouTube from 6.45pm