The Women’s World Championship is over and the disappointed Aussie Spirit players, coaches and travelling fans have left Canada. But the planning for future success has already started.
Head Coach Fabian Barlow has identified weaknesses in the team and has some plans to rectify them.
The Spirit finished 10th at the World Championship in Surrey, British Columbia, after entering the tournament with high hopes to be challenging for a medal. Those hopes vanished much sooner than anticipated, with an opening-game loss to Mexico, followed by second-round defeats by USA and China, consigning the Australians to a battle for minor placings.
The USA won the gold medal by beating Japan 7-3 in the final. Host nation Canada won the bronze medal after losing their final game to Japan 11-1.
Australia finished off the tournament on a downer, with a 4-1 loss to Puerto Rico. It was a tough way for Barlow and his team to end their trip.
“We are extremely disappointed with today’s performance and our performances at the tournament,” Barlow said after the final game. “It is not what we trained for or expected of ourselves, and our final spot on the ladder is difficult to accept.”
But rather than dwell on the negatives, Barlow is already looking at how the team can improve.
“It is what it is, and it has highlighted weaknesses in the program that need to be addressed very quickly,” he said. “We have already addressed to the players what these areas are and what their role and the coaches’ roles are to fix it.
“The program needs more speed, left handed variation in the batting lineup, more youth, as well as an upgrade in a variety of offensive and defensive skill sets.”
Barlow said some players needed to believe in themselves and trust their ability.
“We have some terrific athletes in this program, but we need to get them back to believing in themselves and truly engaging in the competitive environment of international competition, and not waiting to be told what their next move or play should be.
“The new coaching staff have worked hard to improve the playing environment for the athletes and will continue to do that. It is about the athletes as people first.
“We are very aware that results are what you are judged on. It will always be that way in high-performance sport, as it should be.
“But internally we are also very aware that we now have players putting their hand up for selection that weren’t previously, athletes that are looking forward to the future and athletes that have been empowered.
“The obvious next step is turning those positive off-diamond upgrades into on-diamond performances and results — and I am confident that will happen.”