Quest for improvement
IT’S a never-ending job for Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby in her efforts to get the team firing.
The Silver Ferns beat England 62-55 at Porirua on Thursday and now play game two of the threematch Taini Jamison Trophy series in Napier today.
New Zealand lost to England just over a week ago in the Quad Series, but the win on Thursday, as well as their victory over Australia last weekend, show the Silver Ferns have improved while in camp together.
In their last outing, the Silver Ferns may have looked good at the end, but had to fight hard for the other three-and-a-half quarters to subdue England.
‘‘We were disappointed in a few aspects of our game the other night,’’ Southby said. ’’We felt that we at times we lacked urgency and that was on attack and on defence.
‘‘So certainly there’s some work to rectify that. There’s not a long time between games and a lot of travel, so you don’t get a lot of time on court.’’
Southby has preached all season about the desire to keep improving and while they may not be drastic improvements every game, Southby can see the small incremental changes.
‘‘The big thing for us is we do the simple things really well. When we do those simple things well, special things happen.
‘‘So certainly from our point of view it’s do your own job. Get it done, get it done really well and when that happens, the world is your oyster.’’
Their through-court defence was what needed to lift significantly, Southby said.
There was a difference between the two clashes against England. In the first test in the Quad Series, when the pressure went on in the final quarter, the Silver Ferns faltered and England came from behind to win, but three days ago it was New Zealand who thrived under the pressure.
Southby said at the top level it was about awareness and they were still building the level of trust they needed to go into battle.
‘‘I don’t think we’re where we need to be, but we are building it slowly and we take an approach of what we do well today, we can do better tomorrow. So it’s little steps along the way, because you don’t go from here to here in one day or two days or a week.
‘‘So we’re certainly very realistic of what we need to be doing, but some of it’s just being aware and staying in the moment. Rather than dwelling on your errors and and thinking ‘oh my god I’ve got to do this again’ and getting too future-focused.
‘‘It’s actually stay in the moment and play what you see and do as well as you can.’’
The Silver Ferns have depth in GETTY IMAGES defence, but Southby wants it in every position. A few young players were given a run in the Quad Series and she was pleased with the impact the bench made on Thursday. She said if you’d didn’t have confidence in the whole group it could make it tough and you could become predictable.
There is enough quality in the England team to test the Silver Ferns and they were in the mix on Thursday but they couldn’t keep up when the Silver Ferns put the hammer down late in the game.
The Silver Ferns are after further improvement when they play England in the second test of the Taini Jamison Trophy series today.