FORMER BFNL coach Kate Bird’s desire to give something back to the netball community led her to becoming a coach.
Bird, who rose through the ranks in Bendigo and state netball leagues, has become the coach of the School Sport Victoria 15-and-under team.
Melbourne-based, Bird said her playing experience in the region played a part in her becoming a coach.
“It was a quick transition from playing to coaching,” she said.
“I started in Bendigo, I started at Golden City and then went into the Bendigo Football Netball League, I played for North Central and then made state teams.
“My own personal experiences through VNL state championships and being a teacher opened up the door to coaching this particular team.”
Bird was the coach of Castlemaine for the past two seasons, before Annette Hatherley took over in 2014.
“It was a good experience,” she said.
“I wanted to help develop the younger players.
Bird admitted talented players playing netball now have a different mentality to when she was playing.
“When I was playing I was aiming to play for Victoria," she said.
"I was aiming to play the highest netball I could but I am not sure the mentality for younger players is that.
“They just want to play, whereas my ambition is to try and push these players to play as well as they possibly could.”
Bird said there was some talented netballers in the Bendigo region.
“Bendigo has a lot of potential but it is whether they want to take the next step,” she said.
“Some of the young ones don’t realise their potential and don’t realise how high they could go.
“To succeed at a high level you have to want to be there and want to drive the distance.
“I was lucky I had a mum who drove me to Melbourne three times a week, you have to have that family support.”
Bird was in the city on Sunday with the State Schools team which includes Catholic College Bendigo students Meg Williams and Imogen Sexton.
The Victorian team played a six quarter practice match against players in the North Central Regional open squad.
The open team included several players from the BFNL and Heathcote and District Netball League.
The practice session was one of the team’s last ahead of the national championships later this month.
Bird, a teacher at Hume Central Secondary College, said the team included players from across the state.
She said she was really happy with how the team was gelling and working together.
“There is two weeks to go and I think they are going to go well,” Bird said.
The School Sport Australia national championships will be held from July 19 and 25 in Melbourne.