Lightning Hold Heads High

The Suncorp Super Netball league can hold their heads high when it comes to getting on with the job regardless of what the COVID-19 pandemic throws their way.

It’s a fact that makes Sunshine Coast Lightning Head Coach Kylee Byrne proud of her sport.

But just because the netball community does not outwardly complain, that does not mean there are not major sacrifices made.

 “The thing about this group and netballers in general is we just get on and do it and do what is needed to keep the season up and running,” she said.

“The general public has to keep in mind they know about 10% of what is going on with us in the background.

“The day-to-day stuff takes a toll – not having a washing machine in your room, only having a microwave to cook food in – and this all the stuff we had to deal with.

“But what it does is bring us together and that’s what I’m most proud of.”

Byrne said she feels a real responsibility when delivering news to the team on the ever-evolving movements and changes to the season – knowing it’s people’s livelihoods that are impacted.

The majority of Lightning players subsidise their netball career with additional work and study, adding to the stress of leaving family and home luxuries with short notice.

“The biggest stress and anxiety as a team is the unknown and its making decisions on people’s lives and that is really hard and emotionally sucks the life out of you,” Byrne said.

“You try to take in all factors – people’s jobs, work, families, just that sense of being at home.

“You try to make decisions that make people happy but in the end I have the same amount of information right now as the majority of people.”

The coaching philosophy of Byrne has always been holistic, encompassing the entire person and not just the athlete.

She believes that has helped her lead and support her players and staff over the past 2 seasons and especially over the past fortnight.

“I am so big on the individual person – you are a human being before anything else,” she said.

“I naturally move that way anyway – They have to be happy before they step on the court.

“A lot of last week was me checking in with them, they had to pack up within 3 of 4 hours, so it’s checking in with them as people first and the netball comes later.”

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