Successful coach gets long-overdue selection to national panel
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
After more than two decades as one of the island's top netball coaches, Winston Nevers has finally been rewarded for his hard work and dedication, by being selected to join the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) coaching staff.
Nevers, affictionately called 'Scrappy' by his players and fellow coaches, has helped nurture the talent of some of the country's most decorated netballers.
Chief among them are world-renowned shooters Elaine Davis and Romelda Aiken, along with national captain Nadine Bryan, Nicole Aiken, sisters Tiffany and Mesha Wolfe, Tasha Morgan, Georgia Gordon, Anna-Marie Grant and Paula Pinnock.
Nevers has guided Jamalco to 16 JNA Berger Paints titles, as well as 17 Jamaica National Building Society Senior League trophies.
In addition, Nevers also led Jamalco to 16 titles in the Clarendon Open League competition, as well as 17 Juici Patties Clarendon Senior League trophies. He has also led Scotiabank to a number of Business House Senior League titles.
Despite his impressive record and public outcry for him to be selected as part of the national coaching set-up, Nevers was constantly overlook by the JNA.
Not so anymore.
He has finally been added to the Oberon Pitterson-Nattie coaching staff, when he was selected as a specialist shooting coach for all the national teams, a decision announced by the JNA on Monday.
"I am very happy to be part of the coaching set-up," said Nevers. "This is what I have wanted for a long time now, and I am going there to do my best to improve the game of netball," he said.
"I would like to change up the shooting, but I don't know if they are going to allow me to do that. When you look at the Australia and New Zealand teams, they make fewer passes inside the circle, they just catch the ball and make one or two passes and then just shoot," said Nevers.
"We make four or five passes before we shoot it and so the percentage of us losing that ball is more, compared to when you make a lot of passes, and so I would like to change that."
He added: "I want to see our shooters shooting from a distance because I believe that this will certainly help with their skills."
The veteran coach also pointed out that he would be working tirelessly to improve the mental toughness of players.
"We have problems in the midcourt most times because we tend to lose our concentration very easily. I think when it comes to tight situations we often make poor decisions in the midcourt," said Nevers.
"I think if we can work with the midcourt and ask the players to make fewer mistakes and pass the ball into the goal area, that would be excellent for Jamaica's netball," he observed.
The Sunshine Girls are ranked fourth in the International Federation of Netball Associations World rankings. Nevers believes that it will take a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of the players and coaches to improve this.
"I think that we can beat Australia, New Zealand and England, but we are not going to beat them unless we put in the work as coaches," Nevers said.
"It is going to take hard work from the players as well, but I am going to go there to try and build netball and to help to lift the team in the world rankings."
Nevers is a graduate of the inaugural JNA-University of Technology coaching programme. Nevers, recent national player Sasher-Gaye Henry, and Yvonne Dixon are new additions to the JNA coaching staff.