The Start Of My Netball Dreams - April Brandley

Going to sports trials/netball grading/interviews whatever it is can be super daunting because;

  • A) You want to do really well
  • B) You are putting yourself out to the world, eeek!
  • C) Your opening yourself to feedback which may leave you feeling anxious/vulnerable.
  • D) What if i’m actually no good? Its completely normal to have that nervous/excited energy swirling inside!

Firstly, be proud that you've got the courage to step out of your comfort zone, it really is the first (and most scary) step. It is whether you realise or not the start of an exciting new adventure. I had all these feelings on my first netball trial which was for the NSW U/17s State Team. I was only 14.

My dad signed me up to trial and i had no idea. I really didn’t want to go. I didn’t have the self belief that i was talented enough to be there! I was really young and from a small club Heathcote Waratah Netball Club. Why would they pick me? I didn’t know anyone, I wanted to do really well but was petrified to put myself out there and be judged! Dad told me to use the selection as good “experience” for the future if i wanted to trial again. (yes i rolled my eyes when he said this to me). Without much choice i went along trusting my dads judgement and just did my best. After Day 1 of the trials i didn’t want to go back.

Everyone was all decked out in all there fancy new joggers and gear. I had my old netball shoes that had done a few seasons and my daggy polo and skirt. I felt so overwhelmed and cried to my dad. I felt like i got dominated by the older players. I felt embarrassed. I was so resistant to go back……… But i did. (dad made me) Looking back I was so scared to Fail. 
 I was so scared to put myself out there , to be judged by the world. I kept thinking What if I'm not good enough, What if i make a fool of my self , what if , what if, what if……… The mind loves to get carried away with the never-ending stories and endless scenarios!

The afternoon of Day 2 came around, The team announcement. We waited what felt like an eternity for the selectors. I almost convinced dad to leave early because in my mind there was no way i was making this team. (plus i was promised a customary post trials Maccas trip) Any who , They finally came out and started to name the team on the microphone. I was tired, delirious and exhausted after the trials so wasn’t really listening to be honest. I was brought out of my daze when my Dad nudged me ‘Get Up There’ thats you! I think he was more surprised than me . I got selected for the team! WHAAAAATTTT!!! I was just in as much shock as everybody else, I thought it was a joke. This was my first experience of being coached by Rob Wright.

So my biggest learnings from this day;

  • 1. You never know what amazing things can happen if you take a chance, be vulnerable and just try your best. Its so normal to feel nerves and discomfort but thats no reason NOT to give something new a try (we’ll tackle this more on my next blog)
  • 2. Parents sometimes do know best (insert rolling eyes emoji haha) As much as our parents can seem pushy and at times embarrassing they really do want the best for us and do know a thing or two.

Little did i know this day was only the start of my NSW Underage Nationals journey. I went on to represent NSW for the following 7yrs and won all 7 ,what a ride. Who would of thought…………..Definitely not me!

What if didn't go to the trials What if i let doubt , fear of failure get the better of me? GAH so many what ifs! Ive really learnt that you are capable of so much more then what your doubts, fears and insecurities tell you. Even if you do ‘Fail’—> You Learn. So it never really is a failure. Nothing is ever permanent so even if you aren’t quite up to scratch at that time you can always work on things to improve!

Realise that disappointments (learning) are part of the journey to success. But in order to succeed/fail/learn you first have to take that ‘leap of faith’. I guess the question is are you willing to challenge yourself and push your boundaries to see what your truly capable of? Why not , life is to short!

AB x