Dear Zimbabwe Gems,
Being here is not enough.
I am sure you have received many a congratulatory message, pomp and fanfare since your qualification to this Netball World Cup.
Well done, now the competition starts in earnest.
Liverpool 2019 is a world class competition. It is NOT enough just to be here.
You are among the current top 16 teams in the Netball World. You worked hard, showing determination, guts and grit both on and off the court. Your personal and patriotic pride drove you along the journey. You have shown you are capable of desperate efforts, overcompensating to get the results and outcomes to be at this Netball high table.
When the elite party starts against Sri Lanka, Australia and Northern Ireland, unfortunately all this won’t be enough. You see dear Zim Gems, world performance is about details. Personal preparation details, personal performance details, team preparation details and team performance details. It is not lack of skill, will, pride nor innate judgement that makes the elite difference; it’s making the right call in the pivotal moments of a match under pressure. Pressure is your opposition.
The playing court here is level. Everyone has strength, speed and endurance. Every player can pass, intercept and shoot. Every team can defend and attack. Every team has a national flag and anthem they are proud of.
It’s the speed of court awareness. Speed of the right pass, speed of the right interception, speed into the right gap and of course, cold blood shooting accuracy. High performance thrives on decisions in the moment.
A stray pass and missed shot is not “hard luck”, its inaccuracy; Clear your head, be on task.
There might be different or no song and dance in the spectator stands, play to the calm beat of your heart. You may not win the World Cup, but do not come second to yourself! Be a professional on the court. Be a professional off it. Make a profession out of your passion.
Here’s to your Netball legacy
Wishing you the best,
FreshImpact; Mindset-Motivation-Performance Coach
Stanley Madiri is a Zimbabwean and a world renowned athletics Elite Speed coach who is now based in Bedfordshire in the UK. He sent this letter to the Zimbabwe netball team at their hotel in Liverpool yesterday as part of their mental preparation ahead of their debut appearance at this year’s Netball World Cup which gets underway tomorrow.