Noelia Cacheiro will continue to rule by committee after encouraging a new era of communication within a club in the ascendancy.
And Newcastle Eagles’ forward-thinking coach insists the decision to nurture mutual trust is paying dividends for a team chasing success on multiple fronts.
Ahead of a potentially season-defining weekend, the women in black are on the brink of sealing a semi-final berth in the WBBL Trophy.
But Championship rivals also have one eye on Newcastle’s rise up the league table as the Eagles take a 6-6 record into Sunday’s clash at Nottingham.
“Twelve months on from my first few weeks in the job and it’s a very different situation,” admitted Cacheiro.
“I’m the kind of person who believes that the coach doesn’t dictate — it’s the players who dictate during a game.
“If the pieces don’t fit the puzzle then there’s no point forcing the issue.
“In the last few weeks the team has dictated what they do based on what they feel they’re good at.
“My role is to facilitate that and to give them the confidence they need.
“I want them to tell me what they see out on court and what they think they need.
“I trust that there’s an understanding of what’s happening on the sidelines and I trust each and every one of my players to speak up when it comes to what’s happening out on court.
“We have all bought into the idea of ‘productive communication’.
“That’s been the key phrase for the last few weeks but with that approach you need trust on both sides.
“I think we have that right now.
“We’ve taken some good steps forward when it comes to communicating more effectively and communicating more positively.”
Cacheiro always anticipated a challenging first year after taking on the Newcastle role in January 2022.
But 12 months down the line and the Spanish playcaller has delivered on her pledge of stamping a new identity on an evolving roster.
“Even during the first few weeks of this season everyone wanted to play the Eagles,” she added. “I knew that.
“But now the opposition isn’t quite so comfortable when they see our name coming up on the fixture list.
“Our rivals really have to prepare for us and that’s a huge positive. It’s an exciting position to be in and I’m enjoying coaching this team right now.
“The girls have a winning mentality and that’s great. We’re going into games thinking and talking about what we can do to win and looking at how the right execution can deliver what we need.”
This weekend’s double header sees Newcastle in Trophy action at Essex Rebels on Saturday before a league clash in Nottingham 24 hours later.
It’s a road trip Cacheiro is relishing as the in-form Eagles get ready to put their reputation on the line.
“We’re 6-6 in the league now with the chance to take a winning record into the last few months of the season,” she added.
“We’ve put ourselves in that position by doing our homework and getting through some seriously challenging situations.
“I don’t think many people would have had us at 6-6 in the middle of February after the start we had but this team is fighting through and pushing on.”