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Lucia Sdao joins Wasps Netball

Wasps Netball have recruited a former England international star as their new Assistant Coach for the next Vitality Netball Superleague campaign.

Lucia Sdao will join up with the reigning champions for the 2019 season, with Head Coach Mel Mansfield identifying her as the perfect appointment.

In her playing days, Lucia was England Vice-Captain and tallied 101 appearances for the national team – whilst playing her domestic netball for Southgate and Derbyshire in her early days and then latterly Oakwood and Middlesex, where she first met Mel.

She won Commonwealth Games Bronze Medal in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and has been coach of the National Premier League sides at Team Bath and most recently Manchester Thunder as well as previously being a National Selector.

Lucia is a Head of Girls Sport at Sedbergh School in Cumbria, where she has guided her netball team to National Schools finals this year – she will take on the Wasps position alongside her full-time job.

She said: “It’s so lovely to be asked to be involved. I’ve known Mel for a very long time, more than 30 years actually, we have become great friends through netball. I was even a bridesmaid at her wedding!

“I’m looking forward to getting started and to have the chance to work with the top-quality players at Wasps.

“Mel is a really intelligent coach, being involved in a set-up which has won back-to-back titles is testament to that.

“She has helped to build a great winning culture at Wasps and I believe the strength of our relationship will help us to push the team on again.

“Of course it’s a big step to coach in the Superleague, but my playing career and experience internationally will hopefully be a huge help.”

Head coach Mel Mansfield said Lucia was her number one target for the Assistant Coach role and her experience playing at the highest level will be important.

“Lucia was the first person I asked. It’s hugely important for me to work with someone who I trust and knows me well,” she said.

“Her performance experience will bring a lot to the coaching set-up here and I know she will demand the best from the players.

“The team will have an enormous amount of respect for her because she knows what it takes to be the best.

“Lucia is outgoing, funny and will fit in with our culture at Wasps perfectly and I’m delighted to have her by my side for next season.”


Vitality Netball Superleague backing first ever Coaching Week

The Vitality Netball Superleague is showing its support of great coaching as part of the first ever Coaching Week, which launches today, Monday 4th June.

To mark the launch of Coaching Week, UK Coaching, the lead agency for coaching in the UK; with a mission to put coaching at the heart of physical activity and sport, has unveiled its principles of ‘Great Coaching’ which support everyone in the UK to recognise and celebrate when great coaching is taking place.

Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of UK Coaching, revealed that over a 12-month period, 9.3 million adults in the UK received coaching. The majority found coaching to be an overwhelmingly positive experience; one which was enjoyable, motivational and contributed positively to improving their physical health and mental well-being.

As a result, UK Coaching is helping to clarify the meaning of great coaching to the public, and working with agencies within sport to prioritise the importance of understanding the needs and aspirations of each individual when coaching.

The Principles of Great Coaching are centred on the acronym PEOPLE and have been designed to help people who are coached, coaches and the wider general public understand what great coaching is.

UK Coaching’s Principles of Great Coaching are:







The Principles will be launched during Coaching Week, which is running from the 4-10 June and is a UK-wide week-long celebration of great coaching.

UK Coaching is working alongside a range of partners and national governing bodies of sport to deliver a week that provides an annual platform to empower athletes and coaches to celebrate great coaching.

To mark Coaching Week, UK Coaching and the Vitality Netball Superleague are inviting people across the UK to share when and where they have experienced great coaching, and to recognise their own coach for practising UK Coaching’s Principles of Great Coaching by presenting them with a #GreatCoaching certificate, available from the UK Coaching website.

The week also aims to highlight the broader benefits of coaching and the fact that great coaching can inspire others, and make a difference to people’s mental and physical well-being, as well as contributing to their individual, economic and social development.

Emma Atkins, Director of Coaching at UK Coaching said:

“To say we’re excited about the launch of Coaching Week is an understatement.

“Great coaching utilises sport and physical activity to meet our motivations, benefit and transform our lives.

“As the lead organisation for coaching excellence it’s our vision to help create an active nation inspired through great coaching. Through our Principles the general public now have a guide to understand what that is and what effect it can have on them and society at large.  It is vital that we showcase how over 3 million people, who are currently coaching in the UK, are out there to support others through the medium of sport and physical activity. This is especially important during a time where we are seeing a range of societal issues, such as rising obesity; rising levels of mental health issues; and a growing epidemic of loneliness with both our young and elderly populations.

“At the heart of all of this is the idea that people change people. Our Principles are centred on this word for that very reason. People change the lives of others.  So if you want to make a change in your life go find a great coach who will help you be your best self.”

Supporting the campaign, UK Sport Chair and former Olympic rowing champion Dame Katherine Grainger said:

“I am extremely pleased to be supporting Coaching Week.

“It is about time that we have an awareness week for coaching in the UK. The stories and success of our athletes are often well known but for millions of coaches, who work across the broad range of sport and activity from grassroots to high performance, their names, sacrifices and achievements usually go unnoticed.

“Coaching Week sets to redress this by providing a platform to allow athletes and coaches to celebrate the great work going on day in, day out, across the UK.

“The important thing to remember this week is that people are motivated in different ways and great coaching is the key to recognising those motivations, enabling people to reach their potential and thereby making a difference to people’s lives.”

Join UK Coaching in celebrating great coaching and supporting Coaching Week from 4-10 June 2018 and share your #GreatCoaching experiences on social media. For more info, visit