You need a balanced lifestyle as a professional athlete. As a player, I always maintained a balance ensuring I always had friends away from netball as well as having other interests. You can’t focus on your sport all of the time. You need your family around you as well as good friends – people with whom you can switch off and enjoy their company. You train for most of the year and only get an eight-week break. I encourage all players to have a holiday and enjoy themselves. However, professional players can’t sit back for eight weeks. They need to keep a certain standard of fitness but it’s still left up to the individuals. You can recommend things but athletes still have their own lifestyles and recreational choices.
In terms of keeping their sporting careers in perspective, all players soon learn that there’s life after netball. Many need to prepare for this. If you are not skilled at something, you will have little chance of employment. Netball Australia supports the athletes in their studies ensuring they build a skill base outside of sport. Many are at University studying for their future. Today’s athletes need a holistic approach, as you never know when their career will come to a halt. As the national coach, these are the areas of balance I emphasize.
- an extract from Secrets of Winning Coaches Revealed