Road to Nationals 2021: Head Coach Announced

VMMNA are thrilled to welcome back inaugural Head Coach Christina Puopolo to the role for a second year.

Christina’s resume is simply outstanding and VMMNA are so fortunate to have someone of her skill and experience in the Head Coach role.

A former Assistant Coach at the Melbourne Phoenix (now Vixens), former Head Coach of Vic U19s and U17s teams, Christina was also a Head Coach of state league clubs Vic Churches, Ariels and Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels between 1997-2017 and was instrumental in Ariels gaining a Victorian Netball League licence.

More recently she has been the Open Men’s coach since 2010 and has led Victoria to the National Championship 5 times (2010-2013, 2016). She has also coached the Australian Sonix Men’s team, leading them to a clean sweep of the 2018 Trans Tasman Cup against New Zealand.

Christina is looking forward to continuing the work she began last year and had the following to say: 

I am honoured, proud and very excited with the opportunity to be able to lead VMMNA as Head Coach once again in 2021 and looking forward to working with our talented coaches and players.

The intention is to continue developing the distinct coaching and playing model we put in place for 2020. The model was developed to give coaches and players a clear picture of what knowledge and skills are required to operate effectively at an elite level. This is to ensure that Victoria continues to be successful in creating a high performance environment for all our player pathways.

We will continue with our work on player and coach development, team success and team culture. For player development the four phases I particularly would like to specialise in are: discovery, skill acquisition, game training and team performance. From a coach development perspective, our coaches will be guided on how to facilitate the four player development phases by providing an elite environment. This will include development of the functional game skills required and preparation of skilful players for performance by teaching them how to apply these skills in a high pressure team environment, which will inevitably result in leading successful teams.

By helping coaches with planning their sessions and working with them courtside I will also place an emphasis on the holistic approach of coaching. By this I mean, not just developing skills, tactics and fitness in isolation of each other, but rather developing the players’ technical and perception/decision making skills as well as the required Netball fitness in conjunction with each other as part of a building block strategy.

A key focus point for my vision and philosophy will be creating a successful brand of Netball by building a united pipeline of elite players and coaches.

During these unprecedented times it is most important to find a way to engage the players and keep them involved in our sport, especially during stage 4 restrictions. Our biggest challenge will be how we prepare the athletes for Nationals under these circumstances!

Christina Puopolo

VMMNA are extremely excited to have Christina back building on what she started in the Head Coach role last year. She is incredibly passionate about the men’s game and now our whole playing group and coaching staff get the opportunity to experience this passion first-hand.