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Pre-Game and break-time motivational chats

Hi Everyone - anyone got any tips for motivational chats before big games and at half time? My team are 2nd on the ladder but can lose their bundle when faced with tough opponents or rain. We're in the last round of the season and going to make the finals,...any tips for motivational chats. Girls are Juniors, between 2 and 4 seasons of experience and of average ability in a middle grade (none of them will play for Australia but they generally try hard and love the game).

Hi Michelle,

Not sure how helpful this will be, and I don't pretend to have a huge amount of experience myself, but here goes. Basically this is paraphrasing from something told to me by a much more experienced coach.

Essentially the theory is that kids only remember what is said between 30 seconds to one minute immediately prior to taking the court (or retaking the court after a break) so don't try and give them too much. The guiding principle is "less is more".

Pre-game I think you run through all your warm-up drills and then get them together at about 2 minutes to go to hand out bibs. Then just a few short key messages that hopefully match with what you focused on from training that week or from what you picked up from the last time you met that opponent, or from last week's game. Should be able to do this in 30 seconds so really have to pick only the most important messages. End with something positive but fairly generic like "you've got this, I believe in you" before.they do their team cheer and straight onto court for the start of play. 

Break times are typically 3 or 5 minutes, Don't start talking as soon as they get off court. encourage them to relax, suck in a few big breaths, drink some water (eat something if appropriate) for at least the first minute. then 30 seconds - minute of positional changes or confirmation of positions. Time permitting you might give a sentence or two of specific feedback for a couple of individual players. Then another 30 seconds to one minute of the key messages for the team. Hands in and team cheer and back out on court.

The only other. thing I would add is try to be as positive and encouraging as possible. It's very easy to get caught up in pointing out all the things that are going wrong. I know some coaches may not agree, but being too critical can demoralize players, especially those who were perhaps already down on confidence.

Hope this helps.


Coming into finals is always nerve wracking for the players and coach. Always the dilemma of rotations and trying to be fair. Hopefully at this stage all your girls understand bench warmer is just as important as on court. Nerves play a big role and sometimes one player can set the whole team off. As coach I always say being nervous is a good thing I would be worried if your not a little bit nervous. Enforce what we know keep to the basic game we play and enjoy. Winning is a bonus we have done well to get to finals. At quarters try and touch all areas goals defence and centre but very brief and only couple of instructions. Encourage talk and support to each other. If behind and going down badly focus on improving scores this quarter seeing if we can get more goals rather than saying we're 15 behind. If you as coach are positive and show as little emotion as possible the girls will naturally feel more confident.  With youngsters enjoy the experience of a final win or lose at the end of the day its just a game.

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  • search our library of 700+ netball drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans