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She’s been in netball since she was seven years old and has already accomplished a lot, from player to umpire and now coach. Sameshia Esau shares her netball knowledge.

Where did your netball journey begin, how did you get into coaching?
I started playing netball at De Waalville Primary at seven years old.¬† I enjoyed the game so much and continued ¬†playing.¬† At nine years old I played in the A-team. In 2000 I went for SWD (South Western Districts) trails and made the team from 2000-2005. In 2006 I got a bursary in the Eastern Cape at Ho√ęrskool Die Brandwag. In 2006 and 2007 I played for their first team, Eastern Cape schools team and I also made the SA Under 19 schools team. The year after I left school I played for the Nelson Mandela Bay team and also started helping Reg Sharp with schools coaches workshops. I did my Level 1 and 2 coaches accreditations in 2008-2012. In 2014 I played for the Eastern Cape Aloes in the National Netball league. Between 2016 and 2018 I went from being an Eastern Cape Aloes player, to umpiring, assistant coach in the National Netball league. In 2020 I became the head coach of the Eastern Cape Aloes in the Telkom Netball League, and won gold in the B-Section.

What has been your favourite netball memories to date?
My favourite memory was in the year 2007, when I got chosen for the SA U19 schools team. To represent my country in England, and it was also my first trip going overseas.

What was some of your strategies you enforced during the 2020 TNL?
Staying focused, keeping possession of the ball, and not making unnecessary mistakes, trying to convert all our chances. Just doing the basics, defending well and most importantly just to have fun and enjoy the game.

What are the key things every coach needs to remember when coaching a team?
Create an environment of enjoyment in which players are encouraged into decision making in order to express their own creativity.

What are the challenges you have faced as a coach?
My challenges that I have faced as a coach was in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic that we are currently still in. To have players all over training was tough. Fitness because of COVID-19. To get everyone to training, and the COVID-19 regulations that also played a role and to ensure that my girls were mentally ready.

How do you keep your players motivated?
By setting short term goals for each player so that success is experienced and reminding the players of previous comeback recoveries. Reminding them there are no losses, only success and learning. Standing up is what counts.

Your advice on mental and physical fitness?
Holistic fitness is a must. Strong conditioned and fit bodies must be complemented by calm confident mindsets which can cope with pressure and initiate calm effective decision making.

What does the future of netball look like?
International netball is on the rise deserving of renewed recognition. South African netball is strengthening with transformation a key element.

What advice can you give current and future coaches?
Recognition that coaching is a labour of service and a journey of growth, not an event.

What is (still) on your netball bucket list?
To become a Level 3 coach, and see myself coaching on a national side in the next five years. Starting my own academy developing coaches and players especially our youth. Giving back to the community.

Thank you for sharing coach, wishing you the best for all your future endeavours.