How the TNL shaped Proteas coach Jenny Van Dyk’s coaching career

How the TNL shaped Proteas coach Jenny Van Dyk’s coaching career

SPAR Proteas coach Jenny Van Dyk has reflected on how the Telkom Netball League catapulted her to elite level status prior to her appointment as national team boss.

Having led the Gauteng Jaguars to five titles in a row while reaching the finals eight times since the league’s inception in 2002, van Dyk’s showing in the premier netball competition undoubtedly paved the way for her elevation to the Proteas job.

In an interview with SABC Sport, Van Dyk shared how the annual tournament shaped her coaching journey.

"This tournament is very important, and I do miss it. It's really such a fantastic part [of the job], and you know, you need that strategic brain to keep on thinking," said van Dyk.

"When you sit on the sidelines the whole time, you become a little bit dormant. But the international season we are busy lining up is obviously going give me more than enough reason to think outside the box.

"So, yes, I do miss it [TNL], but it's also that I became so good at doing this [winning the tournament] that it wasn't quite the challenge for me anymore.

"And I think what we created here, the whole focus was always not just to win a cup at the very end, but also to be in a position where we can actually win continuously and play undefeated tournaments, instead of just arriving to win the final."

Van Dyk also credited the TNL competition as a pivotal platform that shaped her coaching style, along with the provincial national championships and varsity competitions. 

"I can also say that, even with the SPAR Challenge from under-19 – I won the under-19 championships three years in a row; I won the under-21 championships four years in a row, and then over to the SPAR national championships," she added.

"So all of it did help to shape me, and even before [the TNL], they started with the Varsity netball competition a year or two before that, and that was also a very integral part of what I've done."

READ: Jenny Van Dyk not in a hurry to appoint a new Proteas captain