Ryde takes on new role

7 months ago

Emma Ryde’s coaching experience may be limited, but the Melbourne Vixens’ shooter brings an intensely personal element to her new role with the Victorian team that will compete for the Marie Little OAM Shield in Brisbane in October.

Emma Ryde’s coaching experience may be limited, but the Melbourne Vixens’ shooter brings an intensely personal element to her new role with the Victorian team that will compete for the Marie Little OAM Shield in Brisbane in October.

Ryde’s 24-year-old sister, Sammi, was born with a disability so severe that she is unable to speak, let alone play sport. Hence the human understanding that compliments the netball expertise of the assistant to head coach Naomi Linossier as they continue preparations for the annual carnival involving women who have an intellectual disability.

“I definitely think having Sammi around has helped me with the girls, because I can relate more to what they’re going through and the things they might struggle with, and maybe not being able to do everything that some other people can do,’’ said Ryde.

“I’ve been involved with the Special Olympics as a volunteer basically all my life, so I have lots of experience, which definitely helps me.

“I think with a program like this we’re trying to really push it out into the world and be like ‘you can do it, if you give it a go you never know what might happen’. It’s a really awesome program and I'm really enjoying being part of it.’’

With Ryde’s own playing activity curtailed by a knee injury suffered on the eve of a 2018 Super Netball season, she has enthusiastically embraced her first official coaching role.

Since the selection trials, the squad of 10 and two training partners have been working together every second Sunday morning, building towards the competition in the Queensland capital from 5-7 October in line with the Samsung Diamonds’ Constellation Cup.

New South Wales are the three-time defending champions, while Victoria has finished third for the past three years after claiming the inaugural Marie Little OAM Shield in 2013 and repeating the success in 2014.

“These girls are so keen and willing to learn. They listen and they want to be there, so it’s a really exciting group of girls to be able to coach,’’ said Ryde, who has played seven games for the Vixens since her 2016 debut and represented Australia at last year’s Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana.

“I’m definitely learning a lot. I haven’t done much coaching before but I’m definitely learning a lot from Naomi and also from the girls, and I think because I’ve played in such an elite environment before I can bring some of that to the girls, too.

“I’m helping them with the basics but also with further development like bringing some more structure to their game. We’re trying to teach them a few more tactical things, like certain set plays on a centre pass. We went through some the other week and they were like ‘oh, we’ve never done this before’.

“We’re both quite young coaches, so we’re bringing a bit of fun into it as well as different ideas and variety into the program.’’

Player ages range from teens to more mature-aged players.

“There’s a few cheeky girls in the team who are always having a joke, but they’re open to learning new things, and they all genuinely just enjoy being with each other. Honestly, I think they’re most looking forward to going to Queensland!’’ Ryde laughs.

“Having the good mix of youth and older girls is really good - having a balance of leaders, of calm, more mature people, and younger girls who are raw and ready to give it a crack. I think they want to go out there and show everyone what they’re made of.’’

Marie Little OAM was the founder of Sport Inclusion Australia, which aims to increase the sporting and recreational opportunities for all people with an intellectual disability. Six states and territories will participate in the 2018 event, which is part of the annual Australia Post One Netball calendar, alongside other national diversity and inclusion programs.

Find out more about the Marie Little OAM Shield 2018 team.

By Linda Pearce, multi-award-winning netball writer with over 30 years experience.

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