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Karen Atkinson

Netball Scotland have announced the promotion of Strathclyde Sirens’ Karen Atkinson into the new role of Performance Director.

Atkinson joined Netball Scotland two years ago as Technical Director for  Sirens and in that time has developed one of the most professional and effective training programmes in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) which resulted in the team achieving its best-ever season result since joining the league back in 2017.

A VNSL champion in her playing days, Atkinson’s work on the sidelines in 2021 was rewarded with her winning Coach of the Season at the VNSL Awards which she received at the Grand Final in June.

Despite leading the Sirens team on matchdays this season, behind the scenes Karen has been working with the Netball Scotland Performance Team, including new Scottish Thistles Head Coach Tamsin Greenway, to develop an enhanced performance pathway and programme for Scotland which she will now strategically lead for the organisation.

The former England international said: “I am excited about the prospect of taking the knowledge I have gained through many years of working within a variety of high-performance sporting systems and applying it to the challenges and opportunities we have in Scotland. There is so much untapped potential in this country that simply needs the right environment, support and programme to thrive.

“Being able to work with and empower quality people such as Thistles Head Coach, Tamsin Greenway and Sirens Head Coach, Lesley MacDonald, only makes this opportunity more exciting. I am looking forward to working with them, to thinking creatively and to moving our International and VNSL programmes forward.”

Her appointment to Performance Director comes after the implementation of a full organisational review and restructure as a result of COVID which included the successful recruitment of a new COO, Stephanie Karvelis. CEO, Claire Nelson, is excited by this injection of expertise into the Executive leadership team and believes that Karen can lead Scotland’s performance programme and pathway to the next level.

“Karen has more than proved what she can do in terms of developing high performing programmes, attracting talent and empowering players and coaches to realise their potential,” said Nelson.

“Now I want to empower her to do this on a national scale for us, building a powerful, effective and sustainable programme that enables Scotland to achieve our ambitions both domestically in the Superleague as a professional Club and on the world stage where we have set ourselves some challenging targets.

“I believe that Karen Atkinson is one of the best Coaches and strategic minds in our sport and together we are building one of the strongest high-performance coaching teams in world netball because we believe in, and are investing in, Scotland’s future on the court.

“Her appointment to PD feels like a really natural evolution of her role at a really critical time for the organisation. I’ve seen her plans and cannot wait to see what she and the Performance Team deliver over the coming seasons.”

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