Angie Bain, Wellbeing Manager (joined the Diamonds in 2013)
Lisa’s (Alexander, coach of the Diamonds) holistic approach to player welfare is one that is shared by counsellor Angie Bain. The pair had worked together 15 years previously and stayed in contact since, often chatting about how they could better support the wellbeing of players they worked with. Angie’s wide-ranging career had seen her work with a range of different sports from state to international level, and she had been involved with netball for many years. It was while she was working with one of the ANZ Championship teams that Angie noticed that she had to deal with the fallout from increasingly stressed players, to the point that their training and competition performance was being impacted.
‘Many of their stressors related to transition,’ said Angie. ‘Players starting to move interstate to join a different team, living away from home, relationship issues based on relocating, financial issues, balancing their netball career with study or work, questioning where they are at in their life, and where netball fits now that they’re a little bit older, transitioning in and out of the Diamonds. Netball is basically a fly-in, fly-out lifestyle now, which has its own unique set of demands and challenges. Lisa and I were talking over the first year of her national coaching role and she started to see similar things at that level.
‘Lisa went away and did some research with her players to find out what the key services were that they needed to be successful. Wellbeing came out as the main theme – they wanted to be supported as people, not just as players.’ Twelve months later, Angie was appointed as the Diamond’s Wellbeing Manager, with a brief to build personal relationships with the players and their families, learn about their lives away from netball and give them tools to help deal with the stresses involved with being an elite athlete. Although Netball Australia started the role on a trial basis, it was quickly recognised as being of vital importance to the players.
Angie’s first contact with the Diamonds squad came during a camp in 2013. She said, ‘I was quite intimidated by being in the Australian environment to start with and thought it would probably take three to six months to build up some level of trust. But they started having conversations with me straight away, they were just ready and yearning for someone to talk to about all the other important stuff in their life that has an impact on their netball.’ With her role limited to just four hours per week, phone calls and emails with the players and franchise wellbeing managers are Angie’s main methods of communication until she can see them on a Diamond’s camp or tour, where she can speak with players face to face. She fits in around their other commitments making time to chat with them over a quick coffee, during a bus trip or in a more structured and private session.
Find out more about the making of this successful team in SHINE – The making of the Australian Netball Diamonds