Central Pulse need to escape the mental trap

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014
Katrina Grant Irene van Dyk Te Huinga Selby-Rickit
Fairfax NZ

ON THE SAME SIDE: Central Pulse team-mates in 2014 (from left) Katrina Grant, Irene van Dyk and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.

Elias Shadrock
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
TEAM-MATES NOW: Liana Leota (left) and Elias Shadrock are both with the Central Pulse in 2014.

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They must have been expensive to run as kids.

Treasuring what's their's continues to be an issue for the Central Pulse, despite having risen to the heady heights of fourth on the trans-Tasman Netball League table.

Be it possession or leads, the Pulse have a knack of blithely giving them away, leading you to wonder about how many toys they went through in their formative years.

Coach Robyn Broughton doesn't want to treat her players like children, but finds herself repeating basic commands game after game.

Sunday's 53-47 win over the Northern Mystics in Auckland was typical of many of the Pulse's performances during Broughton's tenure, with a hard-won lead surrendered in self-inflicted fashion.

Where it differed was that the players made sure they didn't hand the competition points over as well.

''We do some good things and then we fluctuate. We were up by 12 in that last quarter, so they just put themselves under unnecessary pressure,'' Broughton said.

''It's a mental thing and we have to get ourselves together and make sure we get it right, because it really would've been wrong if we hadn't won that game. They've just got to harden up on those little aspects that are so important.''

The Pulse committed 23 turnovers on Sunday, changing a match they could've won by 20 goals into a contest.

The players know that annoys Broughton, yet the problem persists.

''Once you start worrying about it you get tense, so you've got to get the happy medium. Otherwise you're trying too hard and are too anxious. It's the arousal level I guess you call it,'' said Broughton.

Next up are last-placed Mainland Tactix at Napier's Pettigrew-Green Arena on Sunday.

Between now and round 11, when the Pulse meet the Tactix again, this is the last game you'd say the Pulse absolutely should win. 

There's tricky away trips to the New South Wales Swifts, Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic and Southern Steel, before they host the Melbourne Vixens and Magic.

Fourth looks good right now, but it would look even better at the end of that run.

Ending up somewhere in the top-four at the end of the 14-round competition is certainly the Pulse's stated aim.

Three games in, their coach is prepared to give their progress a pass mark.

''Yeah, but I do feel that we have to take a more hard-nosed approach to holding onto leads. There's no room for error and that's something we've got to work on and tidy up.''

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