Share this article

During this lockdown period, we took some time to catch up with SPAR Proteas Head Coach Dorette Badenhorst. We want to find out from her about her tenure as the Head Coach of the senior national team and what she has been up to during this time.

Netball SA: Coach, how have you been holding up during this lockdown period? How has this period affected your routine?

Dorette Badenhorst: At the beginning of lockdown it was great spending some time with my family because I have not been home for a long time, I have been traveling throughout the country coaching. But over the past few weeks I have missed the players and coaches being out on the court doing what I love the most and that is Netball. My routine is totally different because this time of the year I am never at home and suddenly I have to cook, clean and work in the garden.

NSA: Let us take a trip down memory lane, when did you get involved with netball as a coach?

DB: I started coaching tennis when I was only 12 years old. I loved coaching and helping players to achieve their goals. After school I used to coach netball at my dad’s school where he was a principal in Auckland Park and from there I never stopped..

NSA: If memory serves us right, 2016 was one of your best coaching years. You were a head coach at NWU Pukke, won the Varsity Cup that year, you were part of Spar Proteas in the successful three-Test series against Wales before heading to Miami with the USSA team where they took the gold medal in the World University Netball Championship beating Jamaica in the final amongst other achievements

  • What can you attribute this success to?

DB: Yes, that was a great year and we also won the African Qualifiers for WYNC in Botswana. Success does not come easy. It is hard work, commitment, and lots of sacrifices. You need to stay humble and as a coach you need to realize it is not about you, but it is all about the players.  I had a great group of players that worked hard, a great support system around me and a family who supported me. I also believe experience on different levels helps you to make the right decisions in difficult situations and coaching in Africa is different from coaching in SA and not the same when playing against the best in the world. Netball South Africa gave me a lot of opportunities to gain this experience and every situation is new and takes a lot of guts and effort.

NSA: You worked with Norma Plummer for quite some time as the Assistant Coach and were the SPAR Proteas SA Coach, how was that experience for you?

DB: Plum is not only a great coach but also a great person. Maybe because we both Sagittarius we think the same about a lot of things. She gave me confidence in what I was doing, and I grew as a coach next to her. An opportunity I will not exchange for anything. The way she worked with the players and respected them is a quality I will always take with me.

NSA: The SPAR Proteas had their best finish at the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, what do you think was the secret to that success?

DB: I believe it was the team cohesion that was one of the most important things. The players and management had respect for each other and played for each other. We do not have the same time together than other teams or the money other teams are getting but they played for each other and for the country. Plum made them believe in themselves and that they are good enough to beat the best in the world. They (players) trusted the person in front, next to and behind them.

NSA: You were appointed as Head Coach of the SPAR Proteas alongside Dumisani Chauke in October 2019. How was that for you and what does success look like to you?

DB: It was a dream come true for me. God gave me a talent and I started coaching at school level, even though at times I was faced with a lot of setbacks and empty promises, I never gave up and just worked harder to reach my dream. I always prayed to God that HE keeps my dad alive so that he can experience this dream with me. What a privilege.

Success for me is taking the SPAR Proteas to the next level. Higher rankings and beating the best in the World. I want to give the players in South Africa an opportunity to become the best they can be and very important for them to also enjoy the game. I want the SPAR Proteas to unite the country and make them proud of every Netball player representing the country.

NSA: Your first assignment as a Head Coach was to compete at 2019 Africa Netball Cup after a decade of absence, you went as far winning the tournament. What do you think was your secret to that success considering that you had no time to prepare the team for this tournament?

DB: My first tournament was not an easy because we were busy preparing for Malawi and the program changed at 23:00, the night before the tournament started. We started off with a huge challenge, not being able to do video analysis for Malawi. Our opening match was against Lesotho, then we had an opening ceremony before playing Malawi.

But it is all about character and staying calm in difficult circumstances. Any coach who played against any African team knows it is not easy. And every African team wants to beat the South Africa. Losing Karla Pretorius, Phumza Maweni for this tournament was not easy. Erin Burger and Maryka Holtzhausen had both retired after the World Cup so we were looking at new players and new combinations.

Bongi (Msomi) is a great captain and helped with the support of the leadership group to keep the team focused and the team spirit was just something I cannot explain. They trusted each other and played for each other. Having a home crowd also helped a lot!!!

I also think that it is very important to respect the teams from Africa. They (Malawi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) all finished in the top 10 at 2019 Netball World Cup and the moment you underestimate them you will not be on the winning side.

NSA: In November 2019, you played a three match series against England in Cape Town, what were some of the lessons that you took from that series?

DB: Firstly, I realized spending as much time possible with a team is precious. England also had a lot of new players, but they just came back from a tour in Australia and New Zealand playing against their respective A sides.

Secondly it is important as a country to make sure that we have a pool of players to choose from. This need needs to a pool with great depth and good players. You need experience when playing against the best in the world. Just because players are good at domestic level, that does not mean they will be good at international level. You do not need only a good physical player but one with mental toughness that will cope under pressure and can work in a team.

Lastly the margins for error at international level are low. And if we cannot keep position, we will not be on the winning side.

I also realized the importance of teamwork off court. We went to Table Mountain as a team and for most of our players, it was their first time. That day on the mountain did the team wonders. We often have fears in our live and even if it is a simple thing (like fear of heights), there will be someone helping you through it in the team. There is a lot of stress on the team to perform and they need to learn how to handle the stress in a way it will bring the best out of them.

NSA: How was the experience of playing at the 2020 Vitality Netball Nations Cup in the UK this year? You got to play with the top four ranked teams in the world?

DB: It is always a great opportunity to play against the best in the world. Most of the players we played against are all professional players even if they not playing in their own country professionally. You cannot take away that experience. As a coach I realize the importance of time with players and being together as a team more regularly and how precious time is when we are together and what need to be done in a very short space of time. I also realize that players need to do much more preparation when not with the team because we do not have that privilege to be together always.

Playing against a great team and in front of thousands of people is also a challenge that players need to master. As a team we need to use every opportunity to grow as a team and learn lessons from every game played.

NSA: With 2023 Netball World Cup in the horizon, we have some of the players that played at the previous WC, do we have a succession plan to blood in new talent ahead of the global showpiece?

DB: We need a proper National league for players in our country to get the opportunity to show case their talent. We also need to give more players opportunity to play at international level even if it is against lower ranked countries in the world.

We need coaches to be on board and help develop great players that can master a skill with speed, when fatigued and under pressure. We have great players, but we need passion and commitment, the right attitude and mental toughness to become the best. It takes hard work to play at the top level.

I hope to have my first training camp as SPAR Protea coach soon and identify players that I can travel and work with to help with grooming such players as soon as possible.

NSA: Are you keeping tabs on players that are currently playing abroad especially during this pandemic?

DB: All leagues are suspended. Karla and Ine-Mari (Venter) are both on training programs in Australia. Phumza (Maweni), Lenize Potgieter and Shadine van der Merwe are all back in the country following programs received from their different franchises. Zanele Vimbela is still in Glasgow and training there and Sigi Burger in England training. Khanyisa Chawane is back from Team Bath following a training program in SA.

NSA: How has this period affected and impacted your plans as a coach and team preparations considering that you have had to suspend training camps amongst other things?

DB: It has a huge impact on our preparations as a team because we would have had our first camp and first opportunity to select a group of players I can work with. I have to work with coaches until players are identified. It is difficult if you cannot work with individuals and follow up on their training. At this stage I can only monitor the SPAR Protea players and help coaches.

NSA: How are you keeping sane as we are currently on lockdown?

DB: I am not coping at all!!  I am not good with admin or being indoors but yes I am trying hard to prepare information to share with coaches through different media. I am BBT (born before technology) and this can be challenging on its own!!! Also enjoying time to reflect and do some game analysis. I am so desperate to get outside; I am even jogging with my four leg kid Jasper. I have cooked more than I ever cooked in my life and baked some cake and rusks!!!!!

NSA: Any last words to players, netball fans and fellow netball coaches?

DB: To all netball fans, players, and coaches out there, be safe but also take time for yourself to grow as a person and set new goals and targets to achieve. Challenge yourself with one thing outside your comfort zone and always know God will not put us through something we cannot get through!!!

Dorette’s Fun Facts:

Favourite Meal: Braai tjop with caramel bread

Drink: Wine (summer white and winter red)

TV Show or Movie: Shall We Dance

Song: What are you waiting for. Nickelback.

Book: The monk who sold his Ferrari

Holiday: Quite place where there is not a lot of people. Love nature, it can be mountains, bush veld but at the sea I feel close to God.

Quote: Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation

Coach Dorette also shares some of her coaching experience with us.
Coaching from Home: Your Netball Masterclass with Dorette Badenhorst | Attacking Skills

Coaching from Home: Your Netball Masterclass with Dorette Badenhorst | Movement Skills & Agility