AT FIRST glance, Australian Diamonds' latest move sounded a little like the 'every child gets a prize' philosophy. The Oprah's giveaway kinda move where everyone in the team gets a car, or in this case, a captaincy.
But Australian Diamonds are set to go captain-less.
The Diamonds are taking a whole squad leadership approach to the Constellation Cup in New Zealand, with the four-game series starting on Tuesday.
This is not a leadership group-style concept but a chance for all players to have a chance in leading the team.
Rather than serving up a "too many cooks" approach, the concept has merit and could be worth consideration in grassroots sport.
For the Diamonds, there is a new coaching panel and players have had limited time together as a squad, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Diamonds Head Coach Stacey Marinkovich was confident this collective approach would bring out the best in her squad, regardless of how much time each player has spent as a Diamond.
This is a four-game series. Under International Netball Federation rules a captain will officially be designated each match, but overall, hits is a chance for the coaching panel to really assess who they have and what approach they might take going forward.
Perhaps this is a concept grassroots teams might employ for a period to reconnect after such lengthy times on the sidelines and with restricted training methods. This, in many ways, is a chance to find the best captain fit.
On the other hand, this could be when a captain is needed most.
In team sports every player should shoulder some responsibility for setting a good example and trying to get the best out of each other.
The captain, with a leadership group, is the one who pulls it altogether. No matter how tough it gets on or off the field, the captain is the one teammates should be able to look to for guidance.
The captain and leadership group are the ones coaches should be able to look to offer honest feedback and find a way to bring players along for what is needed.
This is not so much about popularity, but respect.
Even at the highest levels, no matter how disciplined or motivated or skilled a group of players are, there is still a vital role for a captain. Even if, like the Diamonds, the bulk of the squad is made of players who hold leadership roles in national league clubs.
There will undeniably be hurdles and strains to getting back in action for teams at all levels. No-one has been completely immune from impacts to training.
Leaders will emerge on and off the field. But a leader to truly captain could be a vital tool in helping teams to best move forward.
It will be interesting to see how the Diamonds' - representing the world's best netball nation - fare without a captain.
This is hard to see as a long-term prospect and one the Diamonds will review after the Constellation Cup.
This is a team all Australian netballers look to for guidance. The Diamonds have a shared responsibility to help set the tone in bringing quality sport and sportsmanship back to our worlds.
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