So your kids have shown an interest in playing sport. But which one do you choose for them? We are lucky in South-East Queensland and northern New South Wales to have the right kind of weather to enjoy outdoor sport as well as such a vibrant and diverse sporting community. To help you sort through the options, haven has spoken to five key sporting organisations for their take on what makes their sport the best and most rewarding choice for your kids.
There’s probably not one haven reader out there who doesn’t know someone who plays netball or who hasn’t played the game themselves at some level. With more than 50,000 participants across the state in 2015, in 79 associations and 300+ clubs, netball is literally everywhere!
haven chatted with Queensland representative player Mahalia Cassidy to get the low down on the sport that has grown with her from a primary school past time to a successful career. At 173cm tall, netball was the obvious choice for “Harls”, as she’s known. She plays Centre and Wing Attack.
Tell us a little bit about how you started in your sport?
I started playing netball at primary school in the Year 6/7 school team for Friday afternoon sport program where we would play other local schools from the area. I had watched my mother and two older sisters play for a number of years but I was never interested in playing because I really enjoyed swimming and gymnastics. It wasn’t until I played in the school team that I gained some interest into the sport.
In your opinion, why is it important for kids to play sport, in general?
I think it is a really important for kids to participate in sport not only for the physical benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but it helps grow and develop a person. Through sport you learn how to interact with teammates and coaches, you learn how to win and lose humbly and it is a really great social opportunity to make some lifelong friendships
What makes your sport the perfect choice for juniors?
There are so many great opportunities offered in netball for young aspiring netballers. There are net-set-go and school programs as well as clinics that help them develop whilst having a lot of fun. Netball is a team sport, and I personally believe there is nothing better than being involved in a team and experiencing and enjoying sport with a bunch of other likeminded people.
What skills or talent does a child need to be successful in your sport?
I believe that wanting to work hard and having the mentality that there is always things you can improve on is the key to success. Also being able to receive feedback and work hard to improve.
Do you believe kids need to start your sport by a certain age to achieve at an elite level? What is the perfect age for a child to start in your sport and why?
There is no ‘perfect’ age for a child to start a sport and become successful. Every athlete is different – some may start early at the age of 6 while others may start a fair bit later.
Do you have any tips for keeping kids motivated to participate in any chosen sport?
If kids can find a certain sport that they really enjoy and want to participate in, then we do not need to motivate them. Everybody has different motivations that make them want to play; socially (making friends) or other goals like wanting to make it to a certain level etc.
If there’s an adult newcomer who is interested in starting in your sport, what advice do you have for them?
Make sure you have a go at every position on the netball court! They are all a bit of fun and remember to always have a laugh 🙂
Who are some of the most famous local exports in your sport and what level of achievement have they reached in their careers?
We have so much local talent! Laura Geitz (Captain of the Queensland Firebirds, Captain of the Australian Diamonds, 2 x gold medals at the Netball World Championships, 1 x gold and 1 x silver at Commonwealth Games), Vicki Wilson (Captain of Australia, Coach of the Queensland Firebirds, Assistant Coach of New Zealand Silver ferns, 4 x gold medals at the Netball World Championships, 1 x silver medal at the Netball World Championships, 1 x gold medal at the Commonwealth Games), Clare McMeniman (Queensland Firebirds Vice Captain, Acting Captain of Australian Diamonds – 2016 England Tour), Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds player, Australian Diamonds player), Elizabeth White (played for Australia).