COACHING netball or football in 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for the most experienced coaches, but for Jade Russell it has been a learning curve in her opening season.
Moving from Coleraine at the end of 2019, Russell accepted an A grade coaching role with Caramut for 2020.
Making the move to the club where her husband, Hartley grew up was an exciting prospect, but no one could have expected her opening season to be so tough.
Putting in the hard work during pre-season and building a culture within the group ahead of a season involves much hard work.
For that to be shut down or put on hold for any reason could feel like a waste, but Russell has loved every challenge put in-front of her and continues building her team ahead of a possible re-start.
“I was really excited for the potential of our up-coming season,” Russell said.
“The girls were training hard and doing everything I asked.
“I have a fantastic group of girls this year that I have been able to coach - they have shown so much dedication.”
Playing in 2020 is on the cards for the new coach, refusing to give up on the season as her team continues train.
Having done months of pre-season and playing a practice match, Russell said it would be disappointing for her girls not to be able to showcase how far they’ve come.
“I think everyone is missing country football and netball, me like many others have never not had it,” she told The Spectator.
“I am still hopeful that we will have some sort of run, whether it be a shorter season or a lightening round of some description.
“The girls have been fantastic, and it would be very disappointing if they don’t get to showcase what they have put together as a team and worked so hard for.”
Coaching at a new club can be a daunting prospect, but Russell has enjoyed the fresh start and draws from one of her closet family members for support.
“Caramut has been such a welcoming and including club,” she said.
“It has been the first year in a long time that the club has had a strong pre-season.
“We saw 20-30 people at trials each week which is fantastic.
“My mum, Jeanette has taught me everything I know on and off the court.
“She is someone whose brain I have picked numerously about coaching and playing and I have the utmost respect for her as a netballer and person.”
While coaching, Russell lives by a philosophy handed down by her mum, using it as guidance to get the best out of herself and her players.
“Something that has always stuck with me, which mum told me when I was playing in a junior grand final was; you have no say in what happens tomorrow, you can’t change what happened yesterday, but you are in control of today and that’s what you can change on a netball court,” Russell said.
Hopes of coaching her first A grade season hang in the air, but it hasn’t stopped Russell from attacking the opportunity head on.