The ultimate mantle of prestige and honour has been gifted to ACG Strathallan’s Premier Girls Netball team by departing coach Kim Falwasser.
A Korowai (traditional woven Māori cloak) crafted by Kim in the school colours was recently presented to Year 13 top netballer and former team captain Jessica Albrecht. Although injury prevented Jessica from playing in the team this season, she has remained an avid supporter and mentor. Each year, the unique Korowai will be passed down to the new team captain as a symbol of outstanding leadership and commitment to the game.
The powerful gesture is a testament to the close bonds Kim forged with the Premier team during her five years as coach – a time which, as Jessica explains, was integral in setting players up for success, both on and off the court.
“Kim was often seen as much more than a coach. She was seen as an inspiration,” says Jessica. “She inspired us to grab every opportunity and taught us to understand that if we want something, we have to go get it!
"She has been an absolute asset, always pushing us to develop the right mindset. She taught us that the mind often must be stronger than the body when it comes to playing netball. In doing so, we learnt how to think in a certain way, how to push ourselves on the court and how to convince ourselves never to quit.”
These skills have proven invaluable to the team and also to Jessica, who has gone on to achieve great netball success. As well as being team captain of the ACG Strathallan Premier team, she has captained the Pukekohe Representative team and club teams Fusion and Tuakau. Immersed in the sport for the last 13 years, Jessica was in the Future Ferns and has been coached by some of the country’s best netballers. The lessons Kim taught will be with her for life.
“Before every training and every game, Kim would say: Strong minds create a strong team, a strong team creates an unbreakable bond, and an unbreakable bond becomes unstoppable and achieves greatness. Kim always helped us to achieve greatness by looking out for us and teaching us to channel our emotions onto the court.”
Described by Principal Danny O’Connor as “an incredible coach and mentor”, Kim will be greatly missed when the Premier team hits the court next season. But thanks to her generous gift, she will continue to motivate and inspire ACG Strathallan netballers for many years to come.