We are keeping it in the family with our second ‘Spotlight on The Coach.’ Not that the Titmuss girls are at all competitive but after the success of Kat’s post we needed to see who could get more hits – so its time to bring Dannii Titmuss under the spotlight. For those of you who did not read Kat’s post (don’t own up or you’ll be running sprints for the rest of your life), this segment is where we find out a little more about all much loved coaches – to find out what makes them tick and why they devote so much time to this beautiful game.
Feel free to ask more questions in the comments section and I’ll make sure they answer them.
Name & Age: Dannii Titmuss, 33
Current Teams Play For: Social Netball League player for Team “Awkward”
Teams I Coach: Turnford National Prem. 1 Squad, Turnford Regional Squad, L&SE North Regional Academy, Barking Abbey School Netball Academy
Teams I Support: Turnford (obviously!) Mavericks, and the mighty mighty Arsenal!
Coaching/umpiring qualifications: UKCC Level 3 Netball Coach, UKCC Level 2 Netball Tutor, UKCC Level 2 Netball Assessor, England Netball High 5 Tutor, Young Umpire Award Tutor, Technical Skills Workshop Tutor, Talent ID Tutor, England Netball Scouting Workshop Tutor, C Award Netball Umpire (editor’s note: WOW thats a lot!)
1)What’s the most interesting place you’ve played netball or trained?
When I was the Regional Excel Coach for the East, there was confusion over a booking, we’d turned up for a training session on 21st of Dec but the venue had closed for Christmas – instead of everyone just going home we ended up completing the session on a bit of grass, an empty car park and the outside wall of the hall. The session was surprisingly productive and the girls managed to work up quite a sweat. I think this shows if you’re willing and wanting to train, there’s always a way.
2)Who is easier to coach – adults, teenagers or young children?
Teenagers or adults definitely! I’ve tried to coach younger age groups and anything below U14 I find really tough! The type of energy you need for working with young adults to smaller kids is completely different. Working with U19 adults, for me, is much more enjoyable, as they can perform at a higher level and can grasp a more in-depth understanding of the game.
3)What’s the most important netballing skill you look for in a baller?
Understand the game, understand how to play pretty much any invasion game – if you can outwit people with your brain you’re already halfway there.
4)What’s the most important non-netball skill you look for in a baller?
How fearless are they? Are they prepared to put their body on the line for that intercept? Can they continue to go, and go and go again – regardless of the score line? I also like athletes who are competitive and willing to learn new things, take risks, and try something different.
5)Tell us your best personal netballing memory?
It would be one of the tours I’ve been on. I’ve been very fortunate to go on several with Turnford, my school team (Broxbourne), and when at Uni (Brunel). The best would probably be St Lucia as we got to participate in the Caribbean Cup and compete against several Caribbean teams. Such a great learning experience and it was also such a beautiful place to visit.
6) What’s your best memory as a coach?
I have lots – but definitely my time coaching in Australia has provided me with some amazing memories. Coaching the Sydney Uni State League team to win the league and the grand final in 2013, achieving promotion and making finals again in the following season was pretty awesome. Getting to work alongside ex-Diamond athlete Mo’onia Gerrard and coaching the U14 City of Sydney Rep team in the State Champs (equivalent to U14 Club Nationals) and winning would also be up there.
7)What was the last thing your team or one of your players did that made you smile?
My teams always make me smile. Most recently winning the invitational NPL tournament with Barking Abbey was pretty cool – especially as the girls were very new to each other and we didn’t expect to play so strong.
8)Tell us something your team don’t know about you?
I was Hoddesdon Mini Miss 1992. (Editors Note: this is my favourite answer of all time!)
9)What was the most important thing one of your coaches taught you?
I was fortunate to work closely with Jo Webb (former England U19 coach) for 3 years, I learnt so much from her – the biggest learning was: the expectations you have of your athletes, they will most likely meet – so raise the bar of what you expect, push them harder than you think they can go.
10) Who was your favourite coach and why?
From when I was a player it would have been my mum, she was brutally tough on me but she’d never lie. I’d always know if she thought I’d had a bad game, but also when she said I’d had a good performance I knew she meant it. As a coach, my favourite coach would be Karen Atkinson, I was the Assistant Mavericks Youth Coach when she was Mavericks Superleague Head Coach – she has such a great understanding of the game, both technically and tactically, yet she made everything seem so simple. Karen was also great at making every player feel valued in the squad – I learnt a lot from her and she definitely influenced my coaching style.
11) What does it take to be a great baller?
Obviously to have an understanding of the game and to have good netball skills (such as ball handling, movement). To be able to perform those skills well under pressure, and to be able to perform them under pressure repeatedly.
12) If we asked your team what was the one thing you tell them again and again what would it be?
It would probably be “and again… and again… just once more…”
13) If we asked your team what you are like as a coach – what do you hope they would say?
I’d hope they’d say I pushed them to enable them to achieve their potential. Firm but fair.
14) And what do you think they would actually say?
Please stop singing and dancing, you’re not cool.
15) Who is your netballing (or general) inspiration?
There are many people that inspire me – I’m fortunate to be surround by a lots of positive, strong, female role models, especially within the netball world. However my biggest inspiration would be my mum. I can’t believe how much one woman can achieve – she really does do it all. Not just the amount of effort she puts into the netball (which is huge) and running her own business but also how much she does for us all as a family, she’s incredibly kind and incredibly generous. I definitely wouldn’t have be able to take the risks I have and pursue my coaching career without the support and encouragement from her. She’s taught me anything is possible if you work hard enough for it.