Colin?s spreading the word for netball
By GREG WHITE
SO how does a male get placed in charge of what is perceived as a sport for females?
Well, newly elected president of Coffs Harbour Netball Association, Colin Sztorch claims he has the answer.
"Being the only male in a household of netballing females," he offered.
"Both my wife and daughter played so I tagged along.
"Started out at the bottom by getting my coaches ticket and have stuck solid ever since."
Sztorch knows his new position will be challenging but not for reasons of the age-old battle of the sexes.
"Netball hit the heights when the World Cup came here in 1988 but since that time it has been a struggle to maintain profile.
"Coffs hasn't been immune to that slide and it will be one of my aims to work with everybody to rebuild the strength of the local game."
Netball may not have the same profile as competing sports but Sztorch says it retains a huge following.
In fact, some ABC television research shows it's biggest fans are male.
"That's certainly not the case around here," he said.
"Part of the problem is that unlike basketball, soccer and cricket, there isn't a male competition for netball when men are entitled to participate.
"We did have one young bloke playing two years ago but he's now moved on."
With netball often likened to basketball, Sztorch sees another stumbling block.
"We have a winter season whereas they generally play all year," he said.
"Everyone is competing for players and administrators and there are only so many to go around."
He also sees the perception of netball being strongly regulated as a hindrance and while it's nothing like the old days when amateur officials ruled sport with an iron fist, there's room to free up the administration.
"We need coaches from entry level upwards, then managers and volunteers ready to go out and recruit players to fill the void," he said.
"And some of them can be male.
"I'm not certain it will happen but it's worth considering."
Rather than be seen to be over reaching, Sztorch says his term as president will be a time for consolidation.
"I want everyone to feel good about netball, and to spread the word," he said.