Mrs Allison-McCracken deserves chance as netball head coach
We join Dr Paula Daley-Morris, president of Netball Jamaica, in soliciting the support of the sporting fraternity — in general, and those in netball, in particular — for newly appointed head coach of the senior netball team, Mrs Jermaine Allison-McCracken.
We make this plea in light of the fact that the English-born Mrs Allison-McCracken is virtually unknown in global netball circles and comes to the post void of any established international coaching experience, though she possesses tremendous assets.
Dr Daley-Morris, as carried in the sports section of today’s
Saturday Observer, prefaced her defence of the appointment of Mrs Allison-McCracken by stating that she fully understands the scepticism associated with unknown appointees, but that if the situation is managed properly, then positive outcomes could be the end result.
“I’m therefore asking players, affiliates, friends of netball, sponsors, potential sponsors and the media fraternity to give her a fair chance to do this job to the best of her ability. I’m asking every Jamaican to keep an open mind and trust that the board of Netball Jamaica will act decisively when we’re required and if we’re required,” the Netball Jamaica boss said.
For that reason the new coach has been granted a one-year contract, inclusive of six months’ probation.
There are many examples of foreign coaches being employed to guide our national teams, some with success. And it has happened before in netball. Only recently Australian Jill McIntosh was engaged on short contracts to guide the team leading up to and during world tournaments.
And who can forget the impact of Brazilian Rene Simoes on Jamaica’s football and its ultimate advance to the FIFA World Cup Finals in France in 1998?
The 57-year-old Allison-McCracken, whose father is Jamaican, and who has been living here with her parents for the past year, has over 40 years’ experience as a player and administrator.
To her credit, she played as a goal-shooter with England Juniors, as well as on the club scene. Administratively, she moved to Scotland where she introduced the sport in the Highlands, the legacy of which is now a vibrant programme in the communities.
Mrs Allison-McCracken has substantial training in the areas of sports psychology, netball coaching, health, recreation and fitness, movement and dance studies up to the bachelor’s level.
Jamaica’s senior netballers, the Sunshine Girls, are currently ranked fourth in the world, having alternated between numbers three and four in the past, and the netball boss and her local governing body are well aware of the professional advancement of the game — be it technical, technological or scientific — by other countries, which has influenced their moving in this direction now.
“Her training methods are not what our players have grown accustomed to over the years. They include the infusion of core physical strategies, moverment analysis, ongoing fitness monitoring, detailed attention to individual player’s skill development, best fit strategies for the game. She’s a natural collaborator and therefore enjoys working with others to achieve success,” stated Dr Daley-Morris.
With success being the ultimate goal, we hope Mrs Allison-McCracken gets the opportunity to write her own history with the Sunshine Girls.