#ExtraTime with SA netball coach Dorette Badenhorst
In recent years the sport has been on the up and up, from impressive performances at the 2019 World Cup, to consistently matching the likes of New Zealand and England in their annual series.
One person who has been through the ranks and seen it all when it comes to the sport is current Spar Proteas coach Dorette Badenhorst.
She’s been in the role for almost eight months, after taking over from Norma Plummer who left at the end of the 2019 World Cup. Badenhorst had been Plummer’s assistant at the tournament which was played in England.
She started coaching school netball before ending up as coach of the North West University team as well South Africa’s under-21 team.
While she may be in her dream job now, it could have all been so different for Badenhorst, who got her coaching start in tennis.
“I started coaching from the age of 13,” she told EWN Sport. “My dad was a tennis coach and my whole family played tennis. We also were all part of a senior netball club where we played from a very young age, and we also enjoyed playing tennis as a family.
"We also played all the tournaments during school holidays and we played provincial tennis. But I also played netball from the of seven and I got my provincial colours in primary and high school”.
Her two loves would clash in grade 11 as she was forced to pick a sport due to two school competitions being staged at the same time.
“I had to decide whether to go to the netball or tennis SA school champs because it was at the same time of the year. My dad wasn’t really impressed with me with that choice but I thought at that stage it was the best choice I could make”.
What was vital for Badenhorst in picking netball over tennis was the team element of the sport.
“I enjoyed being part of a team and having people around me. In grade 12, I had to choose again but this time around it was a little more difficult because I was ranked number one (in tennis) in my region but I decided again to go to the SA schools netball championships in Upington. I enjoyed my team, being around people because tennis can become a really lonely sport”.
Her journey to being the coach of the Spar Proteas has not been a straight one as Badenhorst started from grassroots to the top job.
She started teaching in 1995 and pushed for girls to play netball because she wanted them to develop their skills and learn to play the game.
Looking back at her school netball years, she’s grateful for the humble beginnings.
“It taught me that there is talent in every school but it’s about hard work and developing the talent and basic skills. Our school didn’t always have the best clothes but we were a team and had a winning attitude and sometimes that’s all you need. The right attitude and great ball skills”.
The aim now for Badenhorst and Netball SA is to have a successful showing at the 2023 World Cup.
At the last World Cup, the Spar Proteas finished fourth but as hosts, Badenhorst believes if they use the next few years correctly, South Africa can finish in a podium position.
“We need a good national netball league to identify more talent and give players more game time,” she shared. “We also need more international game time because there is a lot of players that never get the international experience and there is a huge difference in pressure between local games and international games”.
And it’s not just players that she wants to see improvement from ahead of the tournament, but coaches as well.
“It’s also important that we as coaches work together and really have the same goal. I need the coaches in our country because we are not a professional sport yet and we as coaches need to work together for the same purpose”.
This article first appeared on EWN : #ExtraTime with SA netball coach Dorette Badenhorst
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