A Mentor is more than just a teammate…
A great Coach and Mentor play a massive role in helping an athlete throughout their career. Someone who was a great mentor and still is a great support for me throughout my professional Netball career is former Vixen and Australian Diamond Legend, Bianca Chatfield. Bianca was the captain at the Vixens in my first season at the club in 2014. The first year for any rookie in any professional sport is daunting. Training alongside your idols and seasoned veterans is a difficult task.
Bianca or B helped make my transition from the Australia Netball League level to the Vixens level that little bit easier. She was a natural leader, always ready to provide advice at the right time and more importantly take the time to listen if I had any questions. As a young player at the time, I learnt a lot from Bianca on and off the court. I would watch her and the way she acted as a Netballer was very professional. However, at the same time what I loved about Bianca is that she was able to have fun away from the court too. This is so important in what can be a pressured and tense environment at times. B was especially fun when travelling with the team, she was and still is the more mature-immature person I know. 🙂
The Right advice at the right time
I still remember my first game for the Vixens in 2014. We were playing at our home venue at the time, Hisense Arena, we were in the tunnel waiting to be called out, I was extremely nervous as it was my first game and I was starting on the court in the Centre position. I remember waiting there as a team and Bianca came over wrapped her arm around me and said:
“Don’t worry kid, we will do this together, we all have your back.”
I guess Bianca had a way of breaking down big moments and making her teammates feel comfortable in any situation. That is why she is still so highly regarded in the industry today.
Now that Bianca has retired I am still lucky to call her a friend for life. Myself and Kate Moloney regularly catch up for coffee with B and it’s nice to chat about things on and off the court and get the perspective from someone who has been a netballer. She gets what we are talking about. She is a legend!
I was lucky enough to find a great mentor when I first started. The best advice I can give any aspiring young netballer is to find someone you feel comfortable talking to. Find someone willing to give you feedback and listen at the right time as well. If you’re a parent or junior Coach never underestimate the impact you can have on young Netballers life. Most of all have fun and enjoy yourself.
“Be your best!”