Firebirds Assistant Coach Clare Ferguson has played at the highest level of netball and competed in some of the toughest competitions in the world, but coaching is a challenge she’s always wanted to take on.
Her career led her to Australian Diamonds from 2014-2016 as well as captaining the side in 2016. However, she always had one eye on the suit and clipboard.
Her passion for coaching was something she discovered throughout her playing career. She said the strategy and the mechanics behind the game was something that really stood out to her.
“I think for me as a player I had always really enjoyed the practical and technical side of the game and I wasn’t the best goal defender or defender in the world by any means, but I think I always tried to have a really strong understanding of what needed to be done on court technically and tactically at different times to get different outcomes,” Ferguson said
“ I think as I came through the pathway as a player and went away from the game, there was a period of time where I retired for two years and then came back to the sport, coming back as an older player and having a different outlook on life after having time off – I was able to appreciate more that importance of development and understanding of how you see different players.
“And, of course, how you mould them individually, so recognising that as more of a senior player I suppose it sparked my interest and curiosity in developing that further post my playing days.
“I love working with people, that’s what I do for my other career, I’m a speech pathologist away from netball, and I like seeing people improve and better themselves and become better versions of themselves.
“I think at its core that’s what coaching is all about, about personal growth and development for the individual in the space of betterment from the team perspective, that has been an area I’ve always enjoyed in life, so it was a natural next progression.
“I think as well with sport you always look for a challenge and when you leave being an athlete you have to seek and find it in another place of your life so for me, I’ve had that fulfillment from getting into coaching.”
Although Ferguson has been at the club in a coaching capacity since 2017, this year will be her first season in an assistant coaching role.
“I was involved last year as a specialist coach defensively, but I had my second child during the second week of the season, so I wasn’t as involved as what I’d like to be through the course of the actual season itself but to be reengaged again this year in a new role is really exciting thing for me and there are always those natural nerves that come into play.”
What does 2021 hold for Ferguson?
In terms of looking forward to 2021 and what excites Ferguson the most, it’s the little things like being around the club every day.
“What’s not to be excited about, there’s so much I get really excited to come to every training session I think you’ve got to love it when you’re in an elite and high-performance environment like this,” she said.
“To get the season started would be amazing, in terms actually playing the games and walk out and sit on the bench to watch the girls play but I get excited to come to training every day, I get excited to come to meetings which is so stupid.
“I think that I’m so fresh to the game in this environment I’m coming off having two children in the space of two years and I just love netball and I love the firebirds and I just have enormous belief in what these girls are capable of and a massive belief in what Megz is capable of with the group for me I just get excited about little things and seeing little improvements, changes, and adjustments by them in training.”