Talent search - Francis looking to develop promising players for Fast5 netball team
National netball icon, Connie Francis, who was reappointed to the national netball program recently, said the experience she gained while outside of the Jamaica set-up will serve her well in a new role as head coach of the country's Fast5 team.
Francis, who coached the Sunshine Girls from 2006 to 2011, did a stint in St Lucia from 2012 to 2015, helping the eastern Caribbean to country to qualify for the Commonwealth Games for the first time in their history. She added that her involvement and assistance with the grassroots program there helped her realise she had a knack for developing talent.
"It (job) will be a challenge because some players I would like (to have) in the squad may not be possible. So it's about going around the island seeking talent. When I worked overseas I had to develop new talent and I realised that I have some ability to work on new talent and let them enjoy the game, so it's about growth and having experience.
"I want to see what these new girls bring, but I want to let them know that playing for the Sunshine Girls is a big task and whoever is chosen will have to give their best, so I am looking forward to really coaching them," she told The Gleaner.
Netball Jamaica gave Francis the option to choose the version of the game she wanted to assist with and based on her past experience she believes they have a greater chance of success in Fast5.
"I was asked in January to be part of one of the squads, but because I don't want to limit my ability I took the contract for six months. But where fast5 is concerned I think we stand a good chance, it's how you apply yourself on the day," she explained.
"Although we have had success in the longer version, I believe we have better success in Fast5 because we came second and third was our worst, so I found this is my calling in Jamaica and I am going to give it my best shot," she said.
"I never thought that I would be back in the national program, but I am back and I am elated. Coaching is my passion, where I go and coach I try to do it to the best of my ability. Now I am more experienced, when you talk about understanding the role of management and people who hire you to do a job. I can accept changes, I can make adjustments to who is in charge," she said.
Netball Jamaica president, Paula Daley-Morris, said her return to the fold should have a positive impact.
"We want to have a separate coach for the Fast5 because it is such a different game, we needed someone with experience and a good track record and she (Francis) came to mind and we approached her and she accepted," said Daley-Morris.
"She has a lot of plans for the squad and the passion she brings is infectious. We are happy to have her back. She has had success like any of our other coaches, she is the one who got the silver in FASTnet, so she has the level and we are hoping she repeats it."
Continuing, she said: "We are making sure the best minds are around the game and we are providing them with opportunities not just for their natural talent, but for the good of the country."