The NFNL is delighted to announce that Netball Victoria Life Member Richelle McKenzie has been appointed in the newly created role of NFNL Netball Coach Developer.
McKenzie joins the league following an incredible playing, coaching and administrative career in netball, spanning over 60 years and culminating with receiving a life membership with Netball Victoria last year.
Her coaching career started in the 1980’s with the Knox Women’s Netball Association, which she led to win the annual Interstate Carnival against associations from South Australia.
Other coaching roles McKenzie has conducted include being the Victorian state coach with both the 21 & Under and Open sides, as well as the head coach of the Boroondara Netball Association VNL side.
She was a team manager of the Melbourne Pheonix from 1999-2003 and is also on the Melbourne Vixens List Management Committee, with 2024 set to be her ninth season in the role.
McKenzie was on the Netball Victoria board from 2008-2021, serving as president of the association for the last five years of her tenure.
She also has a great relationship with NFNL Netball Umpire Coach Annie Castles, which stretches back over 30 years, ultimately proving to be the catalyst to McKenzie taking on the position at the NFNL.
The NFNL Netball Coach Developer role will focus on supporting coaches in teams from the junior netball competition.
McKenzie went into detail about what her coach developer title would entail and how she would work with mentors to get the best out of junior club coaches.
She further explained that the ultimate goal is to get these coaches to a point where they feel confident and comfortable in the role.
“We want to see coaches grow in confidence in their ability and part of my role is to give them that direction on why they’re doing certain training sessions, what they should be looking for at training and how they go about it,” she said.
“Particularly with club coaches, they’re volunteers, they put up their hand to do it… not everybody is looking for a pathway career in coaching, they’re usually doing it to help out clubs and they’re daughters, mothers and friends.
“So as the competition grows quickly, it’s important to put good coaching structures in place early and for that to happen, those coaches need direction, and they need encouragement.”
McKenzie also hopes that the impact this extra development will have on coaches, filters down to the players.
With thousands of registered netballers in the NFNL, she believes that the development work that coaches are receiving, will have a great impact on not just the players, but the NFNL competition as a whole.
“The reward as a coach in improving the players, is fantastic because to see players put into place what you’re trying to do, to see them enjoying the game, it’s such a reward,” she said.
“It’s nice to make finals but it’s not about that, it’s watching the players grow and achieve success and enjoy what they’re doing.
“The players want to learn, and they want to be challenged, but they also need to have fun and enjoy what they’re doing because if they don’t, they won’t come back to the game.”
McKenzie will work with clubs in a competition that saw over 300 participants compete in NFNL junior winter and summer seasons in 2023.
Photo from Netball Victoria