In these difficult times which we are all experiencing now, it isn’t just players who are having to deal with something completely different, it applies to coaches as well.
I recently caught up with Surrey Storm’s Netball Assistant Coach Dani Mugridge, who is also a teacher.
“I’m quite lucky, as I am a teacher I live on my school site with nice big fields so I can walk around and enjoy the sunshine at the moment.” Dani told me.
As regards the decision of the Netball Board to suspend the season until at least the 30th April, Dani is in full agreement. “I think obviously it’s the right thing to do. As of all the professional sports, decisions that have been made as every day we keep on hearing of competitions that are being cancelled that may play further down the line in the year, the League made the right decision to do that. It’s about crossing fingers when we can get back out there and do our job.”
In terms of information about coronavirus, the players were well informed. “Ultimately we are all in it together” said Dani. “We were holding discussions about everything, ultimately, we were seeing what was going on around the world and making the right decisions as we went through. Niamh (Cooper), a Doctor who also plays for Storm was giving us vital information that wasn’t confidential or anything like that, just in terms of everybody being well and healthy and what we needed to do.”
After the unfortunate interruption to the start of the season, Dani felt very frustrated. “Unfortunately, we had come away after suffering three losses which we were disappointed about. Our team spirit is pretty strong, and we were recognising things that we weren’t quiet getting right and were working hard at training to rectify that, and after the Manchester Thunder game we were doing some really good stuff out on the court and when you started to see what we can do to correct things then suddenly the carpet’s been pulled from underneath your feet, then that is quiet hard to deal with.”
Like most sports people Dani is finding it difficult with no sport to play. “It’s been really strange because going from pretty much the end of August we’ve been training, aside from the few weeks we had off in between Fast Five and going back to training, it is your routine, it’s your life. So, for me being a teacher going straight from that to going to do your two nights a week training and weekend commitments, suddenly I’m sat there twiddling my thumbs on a Saturday morning, by 9.30 am I am bored. It’s hard not to have that routine and training in our unit or pairs or whatever it is it is really weird. It’s challenging for all of us, it is really strange.”
Dani is hoping that the season can restart but remains cautious. “As regards the possibility of seeing a return to action “I am forever an optimist and would love to see something. I’ve been sitting there thinking what could we do, it’s whether or not they do two big weekends, like we did for the start of the season at Birmingham, as so many people supported that, it was fantastic. We’ve had four matches so far, so it’s whether or not we play each other just once. Ultimately it would be great to see something, but it’s going to be an interesting time all round.”