It’s that time of year that we all love to hate.
Well, let’s face it. There’s not a whole lot of love that netballers feel towards trials and tryouts.
Just put us in the team, which would make it easier, right? Wrong!
Working hard for something is what makes it so special. If the pathway was easy, and we all made it, we wouldn’t care as much about how we got there.
This is why sport is so great. It gives us life skills that we can use later down the track.
I didn’t always make the team, but I always tried my hardest.
I’ll never forget my netball tryouts at primary school. I tripped over, grazed my knees, elbows, chin (and ego). Yeah, I missed out on the team, but I would rather miss out trying than never know what could have been.
In preparation for the upcoming period of trials and tryouts, here’s a few tips that I’ve picked up and applied over the journey.
GOOD LUCK! (And by good, I mean, make your own luck).
1. TRY HARD – It’s cool!
You heard me; it’s cool to be a try hard!
Whenever I was ridiculed at school or at sport for trying too hard, I always took it as a compliment.
What’s the alternative? To not try at all?
You never want to miss out on a team because the coach thinks that you don’t care.
I feel like a lot of us don’t try because we are worried about how we’re going to be perceived by others.
They used to say I was too competitive. That I was too passionate. Well, I’d rather give it everything I have, than to go home and wish I’d given more.
Missing out on a team hurts. It hurts a lot. But if you haven’t given it your all (which YOU will know), the pain you’ll feel will hurt so much more.
Plus, who knows. If you give your best, you might even make the team!
Tip: Push yourself harder than you usually would at training. When you start to hear those voices in your head, telling you: “I’m too tired to do another drive”, that’s when you do another drive! It will give you confidence that you can do it on trial day!
You know how sometimes you’re trying SO HARD but nothing seems to being going your way? That’s your cue to stop, and breathe. It sounds so simple, hey?
It will help reduce the nerves and help you concentrate on the job at hand. This is what I do in the dying moments of a crucial game and what selectors look for at trials.
Tip: When you’re pushing yourself hard at training, in the middle of a drill – take a big deep breath, put your hands on your stomach to make sure you are breathing right to your tummy - then go again! You’ll notice how it calms you down and allows you to push on again.
You have to learn to embrace the nerves.
It’s a part of sport. It’s a part of high performance.
Nerves give your body and your mind adrenaline. They also help with awareness and boosting your energy.
So embrace them. And learn to use them as a motivator.
Tip: If you feel really nervous in the lead-up/on the day of your trial, distract yourself with a movie, a show, music, or some good conversation. I use music as my main outlet. You might notice me having a good boogie on the sidelines on game day.
Tell yourself that you have done everything possible to prepare.
Tell yourself that YOU’VE GOT THIS!
Find what works for you - everyone is different!
4. HAVE YOUR FOCUS POINTS AT THE READY!
I always have three points to concentrate on for the game ahead. For example, three that I used throughout the 2017 season were:
1. Get off the body
2. Confuse the space
3. Attack the ball
Think of these points as small goals that you want to achieve when the final siren rings.
Tip: When you start to panic or feel nervous, circle back to one of your three focus points. This will keep you focused in the moment and on the job at hand. It helps settle the nerves. MAKE IT SPECIFIC!
P.S. This is what I do in the crucial moments of a game.
5. LASTLY, HAVE FUN!
I know what you’re probably thinking. That’s easier said than done, Sharnz.
Usually, I would agree. However, I’ve recently taken a break from the game, and now I realise how important it is to love what you do, and most importantly, have fun while you’re doing it.
To all my fellow netballers out there, don’t take it too seriously.
If you make the team, great! If not – there’s always next year.
Besides, no elite netballer has gone through the journey without missing a team. It makes us; it doesn’t break us.
Tip: It’s okay to have a joke or light conversation with family, friends or teammates before taking the court. You can still be locked in and focused on the job, while enjoying the process, and living in the moment. In game, whether on court, or on the sidelines, get around your teammates. Cheer them on and ride the highs and lows together, as a team.
Finally, there’s a few general tips that always apply to trials, training or game day.
Stay hydrated, eat well, sleep well and look after yourself!
Good luck, and remember no matter what happens – YOU ARE AWESOME.