(Pictured by Guernsey Press)
How long have you been playing netball?
Since I was 7 years old, I’m too old to give you years!
What was your initial motivation to pursue netball seriously?
I was never the best player, I fell in love with the sport at an early age but never really took it seriously, it was just for fun. I started to take the sport much more seriously when I started to coach. When you coach their hopes and dreams become yours and it almost makes you feel somewhat responsible so you do all you can to help them get there.
Being a netballer must have its highs and lows… what are these for you? How do you remain positive?
There are lows, but highs out way the lows! These days I’d say the lows are every part of my body hurts the next day after I have played, but I quickly remember back to a time when I couldn’t play due to serious injury and I’m completely grateful at my age I’m still able to play.
What is your go-to training outfit?
When you’re training you need clothing that is comfortable, breathable and I rarely worry about what I look like. Footwear is the most important thing for me, I like padded (toes/heal) grip socks to help with impact and sudden stops, and of course change of direction. Trainers need to be durable, comfortable and move with you, this also help prevent injury.
What is your favourite feeling that comes from coaching?
My favourite feeling has to be watching the squad lift the trophy at Inter Insulars, there really is no better feeling.
But equally I can have the worse day or week and I get to training walk in and within seconds there’s a smile on my face and we’re usually laughing about something. The girls really are the best medicine!
What would your advice be to someone who has neglected sport for a long time? Any words of encouragement on how to get involved?
I left netball, at the most common age for teenagers around 15/16, I went back about 26. I would tell anyone you are never too old to fall back in love with something that gives you so much happiness.
Tell us your most embarrassing story from on the court!
Oh that’s an easy one, I had the full attention of the whole U14s squad at training attempting to show them a drill and slipped on a bib that was on the floor (coaching 1O1 don’t do) and went flat on my face, Beau Sejour floor hurts a lot!
How do you calm butterflies before a match? What is your pre-match ritual?
These days it’s more about coaching than playing at big games, but I’m not too old to remember how I felt before a big game. I always reassure the squad butterflies are good, they mean you care, they mean you want to do well and they mean you want to win! I try to keep everyone busy so they don’t have time to think about the butterflies, keeping them focused.
Just before we go on court we all get into a circle, the whole squad, coaches and team manager and we do a fast feet drill, where someone calls instructions left foot in, right foot in, jump up, jump back etc. Its great fun and gets everyone pumped up and ready for the game, and of course we all do it a collective.
Pumped up - Guernsey Panthers U14 Squad pictured above
Do you notice if the quality of your clothes affects how you play?
100% you live in your sportswear or sometimes it feels like that, if something isn’t quite right your mind isn’t completely on what you’re doing, your cautious and may not react as a quickly as you normally would or if for example your foot wear isn’t secure you may not go for a ball as your concerned you may injure yourself. And I’m also a firm believer if you look smart, you play smart!
Do you have a lucky charm? A lucky pair of trainers perhaps?
I actually have a Guernsey flag, it goes everywhere with me…
If you could play against anyone of your choice, dead or alive, who would it be?
100% Jade Clarke, she’s a WD like me and last count is on 167 caps for England at 35 years old, she’s doing it for us more mature ladies!
What makes netball different from other sports? What skills has it given you that you use day-to-day?
Netball is a very technical sport, it teaches problem solving and decision making. It boosts confidence, especially body image, all netball role models are real women who balance work, families and still manage to play the sport they love.
It helps players to learn to deal with adversity, through experiencing match loses or injuries. As a team sport it’s inclusive, can help reduce stress and builds friendships and the socials are great!
Do you have a signature move/ victory dance?
God no, I’m too busy screaming and shouting and jumping up and down before I usually run to the team on court.
I’ve actually been mid-air and needed to land before I shook the hand of the coach we’d just beaten (Jersey), awkward!
One of many victories for the Guernsey Panthers U14 Squad
What would your advice be to the next generation of netball players?
The work you do off the court makes the work easier on the court (my U14s eyes are rolling as they read this I just know). No professional netballer just woke up one morning and decided to play for England it takes hard work, years of dedication and many sacrifices along the way.
But equally I’d say just play, play because you love it, play because you’re a better person for playing, play because the second you step on court your just you and in that hour your head gets a rest from all the stresses that life brings…
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'If you look smart, you play smart!'