Via The Daily Telegraph
A challenge for professional sports teams is converting the efforts in training to performance on game day.
Giants Netball took the opposite approach this week by taking the game day experience to the training court.
Looking for a place at the top of the Super Netball ladder before the bye weekend next week, Giants have been going through their paces with music blaring and crowd noise in the background so they’re not silenced by the West Coast home crowd in Perth on Saturday night.
“Our preparation has involved some loud music and noise,” defender Bec Bulley said.
“Julie identified that while the game is going over in Perth Arena they will be playing music at certain points during the game. We decided to try and replicate that at training and that’s quite hard because you can’t really communicate.
“We look at other ways we can communicate, like get eye contact and things to not use our voice. We’re making sure we’re giving thumbs up, claps or pats on the back.
“It’s been different but quite good.”
Given that, it’s lucky Bulley and fellow defenders Sam Poolman and Kristiana Manu’a have a strong connection when in the circle together.
Bulley came into the Giants fold last year as a replacement for Manu’a when she missed the season with an achilles injury.
Now the three have formed a solid circle defensive team, with the Giants having conceded the fewest goals this season (256).
They’ll need all their defensive power this weekend against the competition’s leading goalscorer, Fever’s 198cm Jhaniele Fowler. She isn’t the only danger, though.
“There's no doubt that Jhaniele Fowler is a great target for West Coast Fever,” she said.
“I know this is said every time you come up against a tall shooter, ‘you can’t leave it to the last line of defence, it has to be our full court defence’, but I actually think it’s the Fever’s defence that has really improved.
“They’re getting a lot of turnovers, a lot of intercepts. We certainly won’t be underestimating their defence either.”
Bulley, 35, is still enjoying her second playing stint after coming out of retirement last year to answer Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald’s call for help.
Contract talk for 2019 hasn’t started yet, but the former Diamond reckons she’s still got what it takes.
“I think I’m still playing well. It would be different if I was really struggling and be like ‘I’ve played too long I need to stop, I’m just embarrassing myself’. But I think I’m still able to keep up with all these young attackers,” Bulley said.
“Hopefully the girls agree, but I think I still have a lot to offer the team.
“I really am enjoying my netball so much. The thought of not playing next year, I’m not sure because I don’t want to have think about that. When the time comes I’ll make the decision and will just focus on the now.”