The Myerscough College netball squad have been treated to a special visit from former England captain, Marion Lofthouse.
Marion paid the students a visit to deliver a masterclass and oversee a special coaching session at the college’s Bilsborrow campus. Marion has had an impressive career in the sport, with roles including coaching spells with the English and Northern Irish national sides, Bury YW, Northern (Manchester) Thunder (where she was also Director of Netball) and Leeds Carnegie. She remains heavily involved in North West netball and helps to build the club's squads in both the Co-operative Netball Super league and the Netball Talent League.
Marion’s visit began with a trophy presentation, from a tournament won earlier this year, before the squad headed to the sport’s hall for a training session. This included special tuition from Marion including introducing tasks in order to develop flow of playing within a match situation and advice on how the current way of playing can lead to missed passing opportunities within matches.
To end the session Marion umpired and coached a couple of friendly matches, using her coaching expertise to pick out certain weaker areas within game play across the court and introduce what different steps could be taken to strengthen this area of play. Whilst working with the girls in a match situation they were able to see how the coaching advice could be used and why it was beneficial to that specific situation.
The training session ended with the squad presenting Marion with a bouquet of flowers and a squad photo that was taken earlier in the session.
The group then retired to the classroom where a lively question & answer session took place. Marion shared her vast experience and memories of a lifetime in the sport. She told the squad: ‘’I just love netball and played from the age of ten. I played club and still play club and there were a lot of centre court players, so I played Goal Defence. My motivation was I will get there, if you drop me I will get back. I think everyone needs someone who pushes them’’.
‘’Every week I used to go to the gym and pick the hardest person to be up against. At first I couldn’t get the ball but I kept trying and eventually did. I got better and better, started to play games of 2v1 where I’d be run ragged. But I soon learned how to play them, kept improving, and eventually got into the England team’’.
Emily Hallett, captain of the Myerscough College team, said: ‘‘Having Marion coaching the squad provided a great opportunity for all the girls to develop their game play and encourage the girls to use different tactics throughout matches. As Ambassador I am proud of the constant attendance of the girls at training and their commitment to Myerscough Netball. I’m really pleased with the continued development of the squad that we have this year. Marion commented on how professional all the girls looked in their training kits and how this gives a great impression to any visiting coach’’.
Joanne Chadwick, Sport’s Lecturer at Myerscough College, is the side’s coach and said: ‘‘It was an honour and surprise that Marion not only attended our training session, but delivered a lot of it too. This supported the squad’s development. It was nice to see ex-students, parents, staff and current students all there to take part and learn a lot from experiencing a training session with Marion’’.
‘’A special thank you to Richard Dearden (Cricket lecturer at Myerscough College), for arranging this visit. Marion has offered to come in and do a few more coaching sessions with us in the coming months. Her visit has added to the already high motivation and enthusiasm levels of the squad.''
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by Dave Salmon