Sports House tackles new challenges: Ellis
FORMER Australian netball captain Liz Ellis provided lessons that all sportspeople could adopt during her recent presentation at the QT-City of Ipswich Sports Awards dinner.
Appreciating supporters who help you enjoy your sport was one of her main recommendations.
"Say thank you and say it like you mean it," Australia's most capped international netball player told the 290 guests at the Ipswich Civic Centre.
It was a well-received and relevant suggestion as the region's leading achievers - including many dedicated volunteers - were honoured.
However, after explaining how she rose from a humble youngster to World Cup-winning captain, Ellis delivered an equally relevant message.
Having been appointed to the Australian Sports Commission board, she offered some thought-provoking insights into the changing landscape of national sport.
She praised the progressive Ipswich Sports House team for working with regional sporting clubs and groups.
"I reckon Ipswich has got it right," the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist said, noting how limited funding had to be spent smarter.
"Amalgamating into something like the Ipswich Sports House is the way of the future."
Apart from putting on the prestigious gala awards and a conference earlier that day, the Ipswich Sports House team has devoted several months helping clubs and organisations. Considerable work has been done forming new partnerships and planning for the future.
It is clear the Sports House model being adopted in Ipswich is reaping benefits.
Ellis urged club officials to think about how people were participating in sport.
"It used to be, if you wanted to play sport, you went to a club and joined up at your local level," she said.
"Now you can find Wii (computer games), sign up to play tennis with someone at the other side of the world.
"You don't need to join a local club to do it.
"There is no doubt that sport is changing.
"We are entering into the first wave of the Nintendo generation.
"There's a lot of different ways sport is being delivered and as clubs we have got to be smarter about how we bring people in."
Ellis, who shared in the 1995, 1999 and 2007 World Cup victories, represented Australia on 122 occasions.
Despite the impact modern choices are having on traditional sport's talent pool, Ellis remains optimistic.
"There's a lot of things around sport that are challenging but you have got to admit that these challenges will only make sport stronger," she said.
"At the end of the day, we all love sport, so it's really worthwhile facing these challenges.
"Working within the sporting community is incredibly rewarding. Maybe not financially but from the point of view of the people you meet and the things you get to do and places you get to go."
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