Following the announcement that Surrey Storm Director of Netball Tamsin Greenway would take over as England U21 Head Coach, BBC Radio’s Andy Lamb caught up with her to find out her plans for the national side.
AL: Tamsin Greenway, “England Coach” – sounds good! Congrats on the news!
TG: Well Under 21 Coach but it’s really-really exciting. For anyone that knows me my passion is my coaching, it’s one of the big reasons I retired this year as well so I could concentrate more on that. I have wanted to get involved with this age group and get experience. I am really happy to be working with that group.
AL: From those days at Bath in 2003 to now, is it something you could ever possibly imagine?
TG: No not really because when I first started I hated coaching. I guess I’ve been involved with the game for so long it’s something that I’ve grown to love probably just as much as playing which is a weird one. But the challenge and the buzz that I get from coaching is probably as close as you get to taking to the court. To get this opportunity even in the circumstances it’s still a massive honour to be given the chance to see what I can do internationally as well.
AL: The response on Twitter has been fantastic, great to see it’s there already
Pamela Cookey – Congrats T – Big impact on the youngsters
Mikki Austin – Great News for EN – Good Job
Kathryn Ratnapala – have no doubt shell do an amazing job
Stacey Francis – Good Luck to u21 #toughlove
Dan Ryan – Wish Tamsin and team all the best
TG: I was touched and overwhelmed by all the support, it was a big change and completely out of the blue, it was completely out of the blue for me as well so it’s really nice to know I’ve got that backing from people and that just goes to show the passion and the stuff I’ve shown as a player and a coach. I think that everyone that knows me and been around the teams that I have been involved with knows how much Netball means to me and what I put into it on and off the court. It was really amazing to get so much support as it is a big deal to take that role on and be given the chance to take an international team so I was touched.
AL: We spoke in October after your retirement decision, you said:
“Coaching, Analysis it’s my passion – I’m not ready to give up on Netball just yet and whatever route that takes me down now I am looking forward to it. Netball has given me so much it would be nice to give back to the game and the players that are now coming through because I’ve never been able to win anything with England but I do hope the next generation can and I am determined to make a difference in that if I can. “
AL: Did that have a bit to do with your decision?
TG: I think I should remember what I say! – that sums it up I wasn’t ready to give up on the game, I want to help the youngsters and giving them the opportunities that Lyn Gunson gave me and what we achieved at Bath. (The role) has given me the perfect opportunity to work with the next generation and help them develop into the international players that we are going to need in the full England squad if we are going to compete for that top spot
AL: At [Surrey] Storm you do seem to bring the best out of players – you’ll want to get a similar playing attitude in U21s?
TG: They are many pros and cons about being a player/coach. One of the big pros about it is that you understand what individual players need and you can still relate to that. I’ve worked quite hard on that on my coaching game and at Storm I think we’ve got it right. We have a honest environment and that’s one thing I’ve always wanted as a player I haven’t always had that from a coach along the way, it’s nice to have that and it’s something I want to bring to the U21s to make it an enjoyable environment because at the end of the day they are playing for their country and it should be the best experience of their lives. If I can bring something good and be able to blend something together then we will be on a good journey for the next 15 months.
AL: You mentioned “developing England’s future stars” – Georgie Fisher proved herself in your testimonial, likes of her big future – who else?
TG: There’s LOADS, at Storm at the minute we have Rhea Dixon and Fran Williams, I have been really impressed by some of Thunder and the Jets girls, There’s so many all around and I think that that’s the exciting thing there’s a whole new blend of players that are getting exposure at Super League. Jess Shaw has been exceptional at Jets and has heaps of experience Gabby Marshall the new (Sara) Bayman there’s just so many exciting players all the way. Even players that are getting occasional minutes like Alana John at Bath, loads at Mavericks and that’s making it exciting when you look through the squad there’s real talent gagging to get on court and show what they can do. Our first training camp is in a couple of weeks and it will be really interesting to see them all in an environment outside of their clubs and I am really looking forward to that.
AL: We haven’t spoken about Storm this season so – been pleased with things going?
TG: Yes I am, we made a bit of a statement this year saying we didn’t want any imports and wanted to get the youth out there but I have been absolutely delighted at how Georgia Lees, Sophia Candappa, Amy Flanagan has just been outstanding and how Josie Huckle has become a key part of the squad now. It’s exciting. Don’t get me wrong it’s disappointing when you look at our losses and they have been by 1 goal, 3 goals and 5 which aren’t losing a game its more “moments in a game”. I am really enjoying watching them develop and seeing what they can actually do when it comes to crunch time.
AL: Run in includes [Loughborough] Lightning and [Manchester] Thunder so still doing all you can for top 4 play-off place?
TG: Every game is going to be tough one we play [Yorkshire] Jets, Celtic [Dragons] and Loughborough [Lightning] in the next few weeks before you even hit the “big guns” if you like. I wouldn’t take any game for granted and the way the teams are playing they’ve all got the ability of beating each other. It’s about getting the best out of people and something that we are trying to work on and “upskill” and get a few leaders out there from the youngsters who are really beginning to step up.
Surrey Storm return to action this Saturday when they travel to Yorkshire Jets in round 10 of the 2016 Vitality Netball Superleague season.