27 Mar 2015

Sport: Cook Islands netball coach sees plenty of room to improve

1:23 pm on 27 March 2015

The new Cook Islands netball coach Dale Atkinson says there is plenty of natural talent among the players but fitness levels need to improve.

The New Zealand-based Atkinson replaces Trish Wilcox, who is now in charge of the Wales national team.

She visited Rarotonga this week to watch some club matches and hold trials, with an eye to July's Pacific Games.

Dale Atkinson says there is no shortage of skill and talent but the players to reach a higher level to be competitive on the international stage.

"There's no doubt about there's going to be some work that needs to be done but that needs to be done at all levels. The players need to take some personal responsibility around their own training [and] things that they do away from the court. I'd like to be involved with their club coaches because they're the ones that are seeing those players more regularly and even if I was based in the Cook Islands those coaches would be working with those players more hands-on than I would be, so it's all about education and upskilling everybody".

Only nine players turned up to a local trial this week, with another scheduled for Auckland next month.

Dale Atkinson says her main focuses over the next few months is developing a strong team culture and game plan.