Greetings to all – from Strathfield Gateballers

You can be lucky!

On the 3rd Sunday in September, we had our usual morning Gateball session planned. To date, we had been lucky with the weather, since the club reopened in Mid-May. However, this last session was quite confusing. Normally we tell people, don’t worry about the weather, it always goes around the lawn, and we only have showers anyway in Strathfield! Not so this particular morning! The clouds opened, and the lawns were drenched, and there were rain clouds as far as the eye could see.

Some players coming from afar naturally pulled out, but five of us arrived dressed for all weathers. As it turned out, we needed all the different gear (heavy rain gear to gradual strip down). Torrential rain was replaced eventually by sunshine, and even the sunnies came out! We managed to have 3-4 games. It turned out to be perfect…hence the smiles in our socially distanced picture.

Our Club has been closed as the lawns undergo their annual maintenance work, so there will be no Sunday Gateball  on the 4th October at SCC,  as the grass needs to recover from its maintenance process.

As most of you know, we have Gateball at our club on the 1st and 3rd Sunday mornings normally. When we reopen, we also play several times during the week. Check out our website (Playing Session Timetable) for updated details.  If coming, do contact me first.

Sunday Gateball players Elizabeth Dolphin, Petula Shun, Greg Deakin and Julia Rizzo (a new SCC Gateballer)

Oh, another little snippet…I have been asked to present a talk on Zoom on the 14th October at 6pm. The session is titled ‘Coach the Coach’ and information about it is now on the CNSW Website, News page.

Kate McLoughlin (CNSW Board Member) is organising it, and Pam Gentle (NSW Coaching Director) will also partake. I am one of the presenters, and whilst I will talk about club coach development at our club, I will focus my talk on a case study – the School Croquet program I designed and manage. Gateball was included in the school  program in 2018. Golf Croquet remains the focus. However, you may be interested to know that in 2019, I included ‘An Introduction to Gateball segment’ in the latter part of the program. Golf Croquet remains the main focus. A QandA Session follows my talk.

We do hope that Gateball coaches will register for the Workshop.

Ruth Bridger – Strathfield Croquet Club Gateball Organiser and Coach

‘JOIN’ joined in everything

The visiting team from South Korea, known as ‘JOIN’, arrived ahead of the Nationals and asked whether they could play some gateball in the Sydney area. They certainly worked hard!

Nails done and ready to roll

Thursday 21st November – Epping welcomed the Korean team to the Epping Croquet Club, along with gateball and croquet players from Epping, Holroyd, Newcastle, Toronto and Strathfield croquet clubs. Games were played in front of a large audience. 

An excellent morning tea and lunch was supplied by Ken Poole and the Epping Croquet Club. After lunch, the Korean team showed the finer points of ball placement and a whole range of different shots. Not sure we’ll be able to duplicate them. They were very generous and patient with their coaching. We appreciated their time and trouble in suggesting ways to improve our game.

Quoting Rose from the Toronto Croquet Club, “The Koreans played with such precision, accuracy and humility. I could have watched them play all day long”. We did indeed play all day long or until everyone said “enough”. A very enjoyable day was had by all.

Friday 22nd – President Mary Gibson welcomed the Korean team to the Mosman Croquet Club. A large audience of Mosman Croquet Club members watched the Korean team play the members and guests on the beautiful grounds overlooking Sydney harbour.

Once again, the Korean team displayed their skills and accuracy. We enjoyed lunch as a cool breeze entered the Mosman Pavilion. After lunch the Korean team displayed the finer points of gateball. At day’s end, Mary and her team dropped the Korean team off at Taronga Wharf where they were taking a ferry on the harbour.

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Monday 25thA weekend in the Blue Mountains introduced the team to the vagaries of mountain weather – hot, cold and smoky. The team pitched in to cook the BBQ and the women beat the men at the Finska garden game. On Monday everyone drove down to Lithgow and again were treated to a master class from ‘JOIN’. They took so much time to explain techniques and suggest ways to improve our performance.

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Tuesday 26th – Strathfield Croquet Club President Ann Shaddick welcomed the Korean team. The Mayor of Strathfield also welcomed them. All players then took to the court and played several games prior to morning tea and lunch.

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Everyone was impressed with the Korean Team as they consistently produced a very high standard of play. Strathfield member Petula Shun said, “For me I have only being playing gateball for 6 months and as I am a trainee referee they encouraged me to practise assisting their referee. They also included some basics like stance and just striking and sparking. They were just so generous. It’s easy to see the practice they do with 24 hour facility available!!

Stories supplied by Sandra Townley – Epping Croquet Club, Maggi Williams – Lithgow Croquet Club and members of various clubs.

Coaching in Queensland

This last weekend featured two coaching events in the Queensland Gateball community.

On Sunday, Pine Rivers club hosted a coaching session where skills, strategy, tactics and rules were presented by State Director Barbara Northcott, ably assisted by Jim . National Coordinator, John Park, also delivered a session.

Theoretical sessions were interspersed with practical activities on the Pine Rivers’ lawns.

Barbara explaining the range of skills activities set out on the court.

Jim does strategy and tactics

On Monday, a number of CAQ coaches met with the National Coordinator at Nundah CC to participate in a workshop on a Level 2 coaching program for Gateball. This was similar to a session held at Strathfield in NSW earlier this year. Both sessions have assisted in refining ideas for a level 2 coaching program for Gateball.

The meeting was also fortunate enough to be addressed by the ACA’s newly appointed National Coordinator of Coaching, Greg Bury. After a four year hiatus, coaching is on the move again and during the first session of the day, the assembled Queensland coaches were able to listen to Greg’s ideas and to offer input to the new program. Greg’s first task has been to consult with stakeholders in each state. He is currently attempting to establish a time to meet with Sport Australia (previously the Australian Sports Commission) to ensure that the program developed meets SA requirements.

A previous article from this website was used to open consideration of what needs to be in a Level 2 program. Keith McCleod’s article, written after the 2015 Australian Championships,  Gateball Tactics: What have we learned , shows the blend of skills, tactics and strategy needed if Australian teams are to win games against quality overseas teams. During the course of the day participants shared information they had gleaned from their prereading on coaching processes, skill acquisition and sport psychology. Strategy and tactics were linked with a proposed list of skills required to enact the strategy and tactics.

Greg Bury, ACA’s National Coaching Coordinator, addressing Queensland Gateball Coaches

Having qualified coaches is important for all clubs. A coaching program enables us to share information and best practice throughout our dispersed Gateball community. In an increasingly litigious era, it is also important for clubs to make sure they have coaches in place. Having a more fully developed coaching program should also make more Sport Australia services accessible to us.