Kylee Byrne credits three senior coaches with helping mould her into the coach and person she is today.
The Sunshine Coast Lightning Head Coach, who this week extended her contract for another two seasons, said she has been fortunate to work under some of the most talented minds in netball.
When you hear names such as Vicki Wilson, Sue Gaudion and Noeline Taurua, it’s easy to understand why Byrne is so grateful for her apprenticeship before being handed the reigns to Lightning in 2020.
“I have had the privilege of working under three really great head coaches in my life,” Byrne said.
“Vicki Wilson was the first one, then I had Sue Gaudion, then Noeline Taurua.
“For me, to sit in that role behind those three and learn, it allowed me to take the parts of them that I wanted to instil in my coaching philosophy, which is huge.
“For me to now get the opportunity to pull that all together – hopefully in less challenging times – is something I’m really looking forward to so I can really get on with just coaching.”
Since taking on the senior coaching role with Lightning, Byrne has been forced to navigate two seasons impacted by COVID-19.
The added complexities have included disrupted fixtures, game relocations, closed matches, extended hubs away from home and a condensed season with mid-week games.
The responsibility that comes with supporting, teaching and guiding elite athletes during these times was not lost on her.
“What I’ve really learnt is the importance of people – yes they are netballers and amazing talented athletes but in the end everyone is a human being,” she said.
“It is about motivating and bringing out the best in people both on and off the court.”
Despite the challenging beginning to her Head Coach duties, Byrne said she did not even hesitate when offered the Lightning role for an additional two seasons – up until 2023.
“I had to think for all of that 30 seconds – no, it was an absolute honour to get offered the role and to go through that process again,” she said.