One year after taking on the role, White Ferns coach Katrina Keenan has her finger on the pulse of what needs to change to jump up the world rankings.
Katrina Keenan is a planner. She can comfortably rattle off a list as long as her arm (and as a former World-Cup winning bowler she has long arms) of the things that have improved with the White Ferns in the past year.
On the field they’re more accurate with their bowling, the fielding has gone up a notch and they’re thinking more about their options with bat in hand. On the training pitch there’s been an extensive off-season programme with camps in Tauranga and Maroochydore to prepare for the recent West Indies tour.
Working with the White Ferns at the Maroochydore training camp earlier this year.
But all of those improvements have simply not translated to more victories on the field or a rise in their no.4 world ranking. And no one is more disappointed by that than this highly driven 42-year-old.
Keenan puts it down to the players needing the mental skills to perform under pressure, in her words “getting the players comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
“When players get under what they perceive to be pressure is where we see our biggest errors and they can obviously be the turning points in a game. You’ll see players make poor decisions or execute poorly. That would be our biggest work-on at the moment. “
Keenan says the first ever Twenty20 series win over Australia in January was a great example of when the girls get everything right on the day wat they’re capable of doing. Sadly on other occasions, such as at the ICC Women’s World Cup, they got into situations where they could have done better.
Katrina played for the White Ferns between 1995 and 2000, taking 15 Test and 70 ODI wickets.
Her main learning in year one has been the complexity of the head coaching role. “It’s not just about your technical ability as a coach. It’s as much about developing relationships and building a group of players, about your understanding of the game, about building a really good programme and resourcing that programme.”
In February the White Ferns have the chance to revenge the recent defeats away to the third-ranked West Indies side when the flamboyant Caribbean women arrive on our shores. “They’re a very confident side the West Indies, but we’ll be better prepared with a massive volume of domestic games and that will also make the selection so much more competitive.”