In this Sports Geek Throwback episode, Sean Callanan interviews Jennie Wyllie from episode 277, CEO of Netball NZ

Can't see podcast player? Click here to listen

Need a keynote speaker for your next event or conference?

Sean Callanan Speaks

Key Takeaways

In this Sports Geek Throwback, Jennie and Sean discussed Netball NZ's future strategy and how it aims to keep the sport relevant and thriving amidst shifting landscapes and challenges:

  • The importance of adapting to change while maintaining core strengths
  • The role of community in keeping a sport alive and vibrant
  • The potential of new formats and platforms in delivering the game
  • The need for sporting organisations to work together in the face of adversity
  • The obligation of national sporting organisations to provide participation opportunities that fit people's changing lifestyles
This transcript has been lightly edited by AI

Sean: How sports were changing and things were accelerating and sports have been trying to figure out what the funding model is, how do we better connect with grassroots, that's something that you have been tackling and talking with your partners to say.

You know, here's where our strength is. With our grassroots, we need to connect you with the silver ferns, but we need to keep you with the thousands of girls and boys playing netball as well. Is that an ongoing conversation with your partners?

Jennie: Oh, absolutely. And I guess the world has shifted on its axis since we wrote that, but you're right. It holds true. And it's about just re-imagining it with a new frame now. And so where I get quite a lot of energy and excitement from is we've got the mandate. Our members have looked at that plan and said, we love it. We want to be part of this. And I think that's so timely because we're going to need that going forward.

Jennie: However, how we do it now will be different to what potentially we could have envisaged under that plan. But the whole purpose behind a plan, I am not a fan of big documents that lay out five, ten years in a really prescriptive way, because it is not true. It will not move quickly enough. It will not allow you scope to experiment and transform.

So the intention of this is to hold it lightly. And what I mean by that is take the principles, but apply it to exactly what you see in front of you. Particularly in our environment, we're going to have to have a massive rethink about what does the future hold for sport and how do we keep delivering to our communities because it won't be the same as what we envisaged six months ago.

Yeah, definitely. And, like at the moment, New Zealand is starting to ease out and doing a really good job in flattening the curve. What does your obviously having meetings around what does return to sport look like? How do you get people back on courts? Where are you right now in that process?

Yeah, so we are obviously taking our guidance from the government, but we would like to see professional sport get out there. We think it's aspirational and there's a lot of a great argument for that. And for our communities, I think what we are starting to shape up is how do we still deliver, and it might not deliver netball in the same way as you always saw it.

So I think digital is going to come in a massive way, and I think our communities are more ready for it. We've given them six, eight weeks of practice and here we are, how we interact with people is going to shift. There will always be an adjustment and we will come back to some of our old norms, but.

What we've embraced during this time will remain. So how do we ensure that we are relevant in that new scenario? Because we were shifting there anyway, I think it's just accelerated. I think the forms of game that we can deliver, I think we launched Netfit in partnership with an Australian organization and we stood that up in New Zealand really quickly.

Because that was a way of ensuring we were still relevant. Able to create a presence, deliver netball. It didn't, it's not netball as in play with your mates, but it's still a form of the game, interacting with our amazing netballers, and embracing those people to make sure that when the time is right, they can come back to the game.

Sean: Because they're super important. You don't want to have this lockdown period and lose, and you don't want to lose players to the game because they find something else or they don't come back. And so drawing them in, things like Netfit and the connectivity, like you said before, of being at your club and the camaraderie and learning teamwork, it's so important to the fabric of New Zealand and definitely the same here in Australia.

Connect with Jennie Wyllie

Listen to full episode

Listen to full episode with Jennie Wyllie