Lessons from a (semi-decent) Netballer
So, I used to play a fair bit of Netball. For those of you who don’t know (and some of you may not care!) I played elite Netty for the Adelaide Thunderbirds for 10 whole years. It was a hoot!
I retired at the end of the 2016 season and over the past 5 months I have been reflecting on the lessons I’ve learnt.
Whether it’s what not to do from my own mistakes (there’s been a couple), to watching how others absolutely dominate - I’ve found a few do’s and don’ts that can apply to all areas of life.
To quote Oprah, here’s What I Know To Be True:
DO Concentrate on one thing at a time. I found when I would think about a whoooooole weeks worth of training, or a whooooole day’s worth of tasks, or a whooooole training session to get through, I would completely freak myself out. I’d feel overwhelmed, and often dread whatever I had on. I would basically think there was no way that I could get through it. In truth, I was totally capable of doing all the things - just not all at once! Luckily, they never were at once, it just seemed that way in my mind. Stick to doing one thing.
DO Try Hard. It can be easy to play it cool and think you can away with doing the bare minimum, but it never leads to great success. In my observation of others, the players who dominate always try their absolute guts out. Whether it’s at training, in a game, or even in a pre-match Pictionary hit-out – they always wanted to win. It may have been annoying, but they weren’t there to be the coolest. They were there to be the best. It also sends a great message to your coaches and teammates. You instil confidence in those around you as they always know what they’re going to get from you.
DO Smile. Ok, this sounds weird, but when I was training hard and thought I was literally going to pass out from exhaustion, I would smile. It tricked my brain into thinking I wasn’t that tired. And then, like magic, I didn’t feel as tired! It also kept my mind clear and helped my teammates and myself relax in critical moments. You know how smiling at someone makes them smile back? That. Operating from a space of anxiety creates tension and results in errors. Smiling through the pain made it fun AND made me a better player. Can’t argue with that!
DON'T Compare yourself to other players. No one has the exact same skill set as you, so comparing yourself to them can be counter-productive. You may look at them and feel inspired, but do not think you need to play exactly like them to be great. In truth, you probably can’t anyway - you are not them! In my opinion, the best Wing Attack player out there is Madi Robinson. Now, I would look at Mads and admire her play, but if I tried to emulate her game completely, it would NOT have worked. I could try and emulate her work ethic and her calmness for sure. But her playing style? No way. Mads is much shorter, stronger and quicker than me. If I tried to get low balls it would have been a disaster. (I probably would’ve snapped a hammy) There’s no point trying to be copycat, because you’ll never be as good as that person at their own game. Just like no one will ever be as good as you at your own game. Get better at being you.
DON'T Think that reaching that ultimate success will cure everything. I distinctly remember when we won our 2013 ANZ Championship, we were on court celebrating and I thought ‘Huh, so this is it.’ I was happy, but I didn’t feel an overwhelming sense of euphoria. Working towards winning the championship was actually the best thing. During the year, improving with team mates, working on relationships, trust and chipping away at our common goal held more little moments of excitement for me. As winning sunk in it felt pretty damn good. The celebrations and after-effects of that win were pretty bloody epic too! Speaking of…
DON'T Drink yourself silly. Or stack it multiple times in da club. Or get a back burn. And try to play professional sport. You may find yourself on the bench more than you’d like.
These scenarios can be related so many areas of your life.
Now I’m out of the game, I find myself learning from my Netball mistakes, or gaining inspiration from the incredible women I was surrounded with.
I’m so grateful for the lessons I learnt and hopefully I can take a bit of my own advice. I’m about to pop out for my sisters Birthday, so if you see some random bruises or a random burn - you’ll know I’m still a work in progress.