Pride's NPL players 'need trust, faith'
CONSISTENCY, trust, backing yourself.
They are four of the most important buzz words a coach can use to build and instil confidence in a football team.
However, for the Western Pride National Premier Leagues women's team, such reminders are exactly what is needed to turn recent progress into victories.
Head coach Belinda Kitching has little doubt her youth-laden team can match the best sides in this year's NPL competition.
However, she's challenging her players to have faith in their own ability.
"Out of the four results that we haven't got so far, three of them should have been ours,'' Kitching said preparing for Pride's next NPL encounter against Logan Lightning on Easter Monday.
Pride's most recent results were 3-1 losses to Capalaba and Sunshine Coast after a 2-1 defeat to Brisbane Roar/QAS.
Yet Pride still only have one win and one draw to show for their endeavours this season.
"We're just at a point now where the girls know what they need to do and what has to happen but we're just starting to question our consistency level,'' Kitching said.
"We have to challenge ourselves to overcome it.''
Refreshed from a four-day break at Caloundra and visiting her partner Sarah's family, Kitching is ready to tackle the next stage of the NPL season.
She remains committed to helping her players, especially the younger brigade, believe in what they are doing.
"Our squad is a lot different to last year,'' she said.
"I think it's a lot stronger than last year but the girls are really starting to question what we need to overcome those fears really.''
Kitching said the Pride women needed to "take it to'' any team they play.
"I've got a young group of girls again, some of them in their first year of NPL, but it's just being fearless when they get out there,'' the former international player said.
"They are good little players but they've just got to back themselves.''
Former Australian Matildas custodian Kitching said second year NPL player Holly Van Der Zee was among the promising teenagers who need to deliver that.
"She is a quality keeper, just needs to get out there and really take ownership of what she can do," Kitching said.
Players like Claire Peucker, Anneliese Campbell, Taliesha Derrick and Georgia Rink also have exciting futures.
Kitching said Rink had been having strong games but had to trust herself in big moments.
"She's getting to the final third quite a lot and creating a lot of chances but her finish isn't there yet. She just needs to have that hunger in front of goal,'' the coach said.
Kitching, who represented Australia 32 times from 1996-99, said Pride were producing patches of excellent play.
"In the game against Capalaba, the one goal that we scored was the best goal of the night,'' Kitching said.
Danielle White netted that goal, proving what Pride can achieve when the players remain composed.
"There's positive signs but the girls are now looking forward,'' Kitching said.
"We've got really good discipline. The attendance at training is really good.
"They are asking all the right questions as a player.''
However, Kitching said the challenge was maintaining high standards against all teams rather than pushing hard against the better sides and slipping against lesser teams.
"It's a balance of consistency what we are looking for now,'' Kitching said.
Pride will be missing regulars like Danielle Ward, Victoria Merrick and Campbell for the Easter Monday clash.
Ward was concussed after being hit in the temple during the recent match against Sunshine Coast.
Kitching plans to bring up some under-18 talents to gain more experience at senior level.
In a massive day for the club tomorrow, Western Pride's senior and under-18 teams will play games at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex from 1pm.
Monday at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex (Flinders View).
NPL women: 3pm - Western Pride v Logan Lightning.
NPL men: 5pm - Western Pride v Lions.
NPL U18: 1pm - Boys: Western Pride v Lions on field 1; Girls: Western Pride v Logan on field 2.