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Talking Tactically

August 2006 Nardella: Spirit of Australia (column 193)

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Lachlan Tighe…..Talking tactically
Weekly coaching column

(column 193, August 2006 a view on bowls coaching)

Nardella: Spirit of Australia


Dear Jude

Viva Nardella, Aussie champ, congrats to you and also to ‘FOS’(Tony), your own champ.

I was sitting in the airport lounge here in Auckland damn early 5.30am Sunday after your win thinking of a title for this epistle to you; coming up with ‘Nardella now noticed’, no I said so ‘Nardella never beaten’ no again, so ‘Knowing Nardella, note Nardella’.

That was until on boarding the 7am Qantas flight the screen kept beaming in front of me their call sign ‘…spirit of Australia. That was the heading, you the spirit of we Aussie bowlers.

Jude, that is you, epitomized, and you are going to be our spirit of Australia when you head to the world titles in April 2007 to strive to be the CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. Think it dream it Jude.

I want to refresh your memory of our ‘history’ together and why you are a ripper little blonde bombshell champ, and as one of us ‘Elbows’ squad, our little ol’ mate.

(For those of you in Auckland who were part of the HP coaching program, and our state squad VLBA gals, take note; this lady of mature age is everyones role model – for those ‘wanting it badly enough’).

Jude, we first met early 2003 when I went to Newport where the Victorian side trained to experiment with the new video analysis computer equipment with the gals I was then coaching – Sandy, Anna, Jessie, Maryanne, and young Victoria, all of whom have been at some stage in the Australian squad.

Sandy asked me if it was OK for this petite blond lady to watch what we were doing and I got you to join in and see yourself on video with the other six gals. Boy can you remember that delivery style of 2003. ‘Fos’ I bet you can, yuk !

Anyway as you were so bloody keen, and Sandy was so supportive, I invited you to train with my squad, Elbows. Those six ladies together with Elbows boys (Chris, Daz, Rowan) joined you at Southern Indoor to prepare you for the very first tilt at the Victorian Indoor. Can you recall us filming, and the laughter when I think you said if you felt an upper part of your body (you poor old soul) you knew you were extending well enough to what was it….extend the hand to receive the cheque.

At East Malvern RSL with poor old ‘Fos’ as the ultra nervous husband watching but hemmed in with us Elbows, gal you took the Indoor and the first trip to the Aussie Championships.

You repeated the dose again 2004. Jessie was our star performer in 2004 with her prominence in the Aussie squad, but Jude 2004 was your breakthrough year, not specifically in results, where you were the runner up in the prestigious Golden Nugget, but in your improved attitude.

After SA walloped the state side at Darebin when Craig and I had worked with the SA coach, Gags, you came to me and said you had to change your action / technique if you were to go further as a bowler as a result of you reviewing your own performance.

That day Jude, in my mind, you became the champion. That willingness to change, to improve, wow girl you made my role as coach a joy, sheer ecstasy.

You may remember on one Friday of filming with Rowan, Maryanne and Daz, Clark McEvoy joined in and I asked him to give you some feedback on what he observed of your approach and action. His input was so valuable and so reinforced what you were moving onto.

2005 looms and this time our final preparation for the Victorian Indoor was at Greythorn with again Rosie and Chicken Legs supporting you in pressure game situations. No surprise to see you win for the third consecutive and go off thus to Australian championships.

All our Elbow program training paid dividends to that point in 2005 although we did not get you any further at the Australian championships. However Maryanne and yourself had benefited from the regular diligent program as she secured a berth in the Australian squad.

Of course the other buzz was that the ‘Fos’ was regularly attending our training to better understand how we were preparing you to succeed

Jude 2005 was a fascinating year for us, you and I , because I moved from being your personal coach, now to your state coach, and because of the Malaysian link you and Elbows became my Malaysian training support team and in some case their team mates in tournaments.

As we often laugh, you could not move without me being there, in spirit if not in person. Likewise for Maryanne and Jess as your fellow Elbows girls. Even if you were 2000km away … I had my eye on all three of you. Because of all these environments, you stopped …mixing with less competitive turkeys and started to show you could soar with the other eagles.

Sometimes with doubt though girl ! Remember how you felt playing against Lina in my organized game for you just weeks prior to the Games 2006. She went on to win first ever back to back female Commonwealth Games gold medals. You soared often with that eagle.

But Jude the more we were training with the Malaysians, helping Maryanne clamber towards Games selection, using Burwood tournaments for special set play practice, the more your standard crept higher, comfort level rose, expectation to succeed and be an eagle was becoming reality.

Your choice, together with Maryanne, to join we Elbows at Richmond men pennant again advanced your skill and indicated your superior attitude. Being around Bear, Deno and other Elbows helped you get used to the idea of game plans, objectives, feedback, team support, game appraisal all was taking you another rung of performance.

And you decide to do all that. We merely were the providers of the resource.

The 2005 grand prix events were another series to remind you that you are a permanent fixture in the big league. Joining Sarah and Mary to compete in triples was great value. These two came runners up in the grand prix pairs against national and international players. So all around you as team mates are achievers. And see how Sarah in 2006 now has the grand prix singles title and you can look over to her and say I am her team mate, I must be a big leaguer too. (Incidentally Jude Sarah is coming down from NSW Wednesday to join us in the trip to the Barham grand prix so we will catch up Sunday).

Year 2006 is in full flight. You know your training is suitable high standard because you accompanied the Malaysians these past months and look what they did. It is the same Elbows approach after all. And here we go again the mighty Jude succeeding for the fourth consecutive year to win here to represent Victoria in the Australian Indoor championships.

Does’nt it seem ages ago that I was watching you at Coburg for the earlier rounds of this event this year. Was that only last April / May ? It was a cold dog of a day, no wonder there were no other spectators.

Yet Jude, like all bowlers you can’t be up every time out there on the competitive green. Such as the womens round robin national teams championships where crap happens. But you, and Maryanne too, move on, live and learn for a higher level of performance.

Then we get to last week and your call to me the night before playing Karen for the Aussie title. There was joy, sheer joy in your voice at the thrill of the challenge. I felt so excited for you, and Tony too.

(For the bowlers reading this, especially those who do not accept bowlers need coaches, you bowlers obviously don’t see, don’t feel how strong a bond is forged between we the player (in this case Jude) and the coach, here it is me).

I had to fly to NZ while you contested the title Jude, as you know, but when Annabelle spoke to me Saturday night and told me you won it, national champ, my eyes watered, for you, for me, for ‘Fos’, and for our Elbows mates who worked these 4 years with you.

Jude you defeated Karen, herself a Games gold medallist, a renowned champion, a true performer.

We talked about the fun, the joy of the upcoming challenge, the expected pressure, the butterflies in the tummy, the prospect of being in sudden death playoffs, and we trained that way. You were assured that you could relax enough in this heat of battle to do your best.

Well, champ, yes champ, I am now publicly telling you this. You take that …..spirit of Australia which is YOU and enjoy the thrill of striving to be the CHAMPION OF THE WORLD.

If at anytime over the next eight months while we prepare you for this fabulous experience in your life, may I remind you of how in the past 18 months you have been around and comfortable in the (training) company of these people
Lina dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist
Safuan world indoor u25 champion
Yanni world womens champion of champion
Like you my friend they are eagles soaring at the top of the world.

For your sake, and the thrill it would give Tony (‘Fos’) and I, I hope all of us Elbows desperadoes have to bow and genuflect to the new reigning queen bowler of the world in 2007.

Jude, in my eyes you are and were already a champ. Thank you for letting us, and me personally, share your journey

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