Rihi Schultz might be known as the youngest daughter of North Otago netball great Georgie Salter, but she is carving her own reputation as a promising coach. The 30-year-old Waitaki Girls’ High School coach speaks to Hayden Meikle
Q: What have been the highlights of your netball playing career?
When I was at university in Dunedin, I played for Southern and we were unbeaten for about five years. I didn’t make the A team in my first year but I made the B team. We were in the grade below and we won that to come up to premier grade, which was a highlight. The next year, I made the A team, and from there we just started winning. That was an awesome time. I got a trial for Otago in my first year then I made the team in my second year, and stayed in the Otago squad for about four years.
Q: How many games did you play for Otago?
Not really sure. I didn’t get any court time my first year, which was quite hard. But I played a bit from the next year on. I was never really a starting player but I was in the squad and got my quarters every now and then. One year, I had a pretty good combination with Jess Tuki and got a bit more court time that year.
Q: Do you still enjoy running around for Valley every Saturday?
Yeah, I love it. I love getting out there. It’s a nice challenge, and I like playing against girls I also coach. Now there are also girls I used to coach who play alongside me.
Q: You also rowed competitively as well, from memory?
I did, yeah. Mainly at high school, but I carried on for a year or two at university. Me and Courtney May, now Fisher, rowed as a pair. Our best year was in seventh form when we got fourth at the Maadi Cup. That was pretty cool.
Q: What netball coaching experience have you got under your belt now?
I’ve coached since high school. I started in fourth or fifth form, helping some of the younger players. Then when I left school, my first big job was Otago Girls’. I coached their A team for three years. That was good fun. Mum helped me a lot down there. That sort of led to getting involved with Waitaki Girls’ when I came back home five or six years ago.
Q: Are you head coach or is Georgie head coach?
It’s sort of both of us. When I started, Mum was like, “You’re head coach”. But when I had the kids, we sort of switched over. But also, when she said I was head coach, she never really listened to that. As soon as she wants her decision to be made, she’s the head coach ha ha. As I’ve got more experienced, I definitely don’t get pushed over. If we don’t have the same opinion, we can actually get somewhere now.
Q: Are you and Georgie similar coaches?
I think everyone is different. We do coach a similar style of netball, but our personalities are very different. Our way of conveying ideas is quite different. But I do get comments every now and then if I yell out something – people have said, “Oooh, that sounded like Georgie.”
Q: Are you ambitious as a coach?
I am, but I’m also a realist. I love coaching the girls but it’s a busy time of life. If I want to take my coaching further, it will be down the track.
Q: You’re a mum of two boys, and you have a day job. How do you balance everything?
It’s just this time of your life. You want to try to treasure every moment you have. I always seem to be on my way somewhere – to pick up kids, to work, to netball. Always on the way.
Q: You’re married to Valley rugby player Cam Schultz. Do you guys talk about rugby and netball all the time?
We love watching sport together, and we’re always analysing things. I like getting to understand rugby. I find it harder watching netball with him. I’m sort of biased towards players I know, and if Cam says something bad about them, I get my hackles up a wee bit.