female athletes

Five Female Athletes That Inspire Us

We’re often inspired by athletes in other sports, we take inspiration from what they have achieved and use their success to drive us on to achieve more in our chosen sport of netball. We also take inspiration from how athletes in other sports train. Drills and technique sessions from their sports can be applied to our netball training. Particularly drills involving balance and core stability. Plus it’s true what they say, variety is the spice of life, feeding in from and learning from other sports will keep things fresh and exciting when it comes to our netball training.

In this blog, we look inside netball and further afield to pick out five top British female athletes who inspire us day in, day out.

So which current British female athletes inspire us and why?

It’s worth saying before we get into it, that our list of inspirational British female athletes is a lot longer, it was a tough job getting the list to five for this blog!

You

First on our list of top female athletes is you. And the reasons are simple. Your commitment and work rate at training, juggling netball with school, work and life inspires us daily. You turn up to training with intent and a smile on your face and you’re always willing to learn more and try out the netball drills and skill sessions we have created for you. Sometimes something in your head tells you “You can’t” do something or maybe you’re nervous about trying something new and the fear of failure kicks in, but you try it anyway and you smash it. You give your all and are invested in being the best version of yourself. You’re invested in being the future stars of England netball.

You’ve committed to the Elite Netball Academy Performance Pillars, and you want to be the best technical, tactical, physical and mentally strong player you can be. You learn from those around you and respect the England Roses and Superleague players that come to classes and camps to pass on their knowledge.

What can we learn from you, Elite Netball Academy athletes? Turn up, give your all, chase your dreams and you will be rewarded.

Emma Radacanu – Tennis

She won a Grand Slam at 18. We’ll say that again – a Grand Slam winner at 18! When we watched Emma win the US Open a few months ago, we felt a mix of emotions. Sheer joy, disbelief, and pride. How could someone we’d only heard about for the first time a few months ago now be on the front of every newspaper in the country? What Emma achieved will stay with us for a long time. Her physical strength and fitness are second to none but her mental toughness sees her in this list of five current female athletes we love.

To have such clarity and belief in her ability at such a young age is incredible and it’s why we’re passionate about Performance Pillars here at Elite Netball Academy. Our psychological performance pillar refers to a wide range of psychological variables that influence performance and are influenced by it. The typical list of mental skills associated with elite athletes includes control, arousal, mental imagery, high self-motivation, absolute self-confidence, good concentration, and effective management of emotion and moods. Emma has these in abundance and we can all learn a thing or two from her in how she controls all these emotions at the same time.

What can we learn from tennis player Emma Radcanu? Mental strength is as important as physical fitness. Invest time in your mental strength and over time you’ll establish a technique that works for you.

Georgie Taylor-Brown – Triathlon

This next athlete makes the list for a number of reasons. Not only is she a fellow northerner, but she also trains in three sports and is world-class in all of them. British Triathlete Georgie Taylor-Brown has been knocking on the door in the sport of Triathlon for a few years but 2021 was a real breakthrough year for her. A silver medal in Tokyo (and gold in the relay event) plus a win in the Superleague triathlon competition cemented her position as a future star of the sport. To train to swim, bike and run at an elite level is something that fascinates us. Athletes in triathlon commit nearly 40 hours of their week to training, that’s essentially a full-time job.

On her social media channels, she talks openly about being an elite athlete and dealing with periods. How to train around them, what to eat and when and how they make her feel. Georgia doesn’t shy away from talking about her mental health either and often shares how she is feeling with her followers, reminding us that it’s OK to not be OK. In years gone by Georgia has spoken about dealing with Imposter Syndrome. Once she unlocked the key to her feelings and learnt to have fun in her sport and at races, impressive results started to follow.

What can we learn from triathlete Georgia Taylor-Brown? You commit a lot of time physically and mentally to your sport so make sure you enjoy the process as much as you do the outcome.

Hannah Cockroft – Para-athlete

Female athletes

How could seven-time Paralympic Champion Hannah Cockroft not be on our list? To date, Hannah has won five Paralympic gold medals, 12 world championship titles and three European championships. She’s one of Britain’s best-known para-athletes and is a campaigner for accessibility rights too. Hannah generally races over sprint distances and the training videos from her social media show a healthy mix of strength work in the gym and outdoor training. She’s out in all weathers and has an infectiously positive personality.

Straight off the back of races Hannah’s interviews are impressive. She can assess her performance with clarity and pragmatism. It’s this drive to succeed and improve that see her make it onto our list. Hannah is also one to enjoy the moment, from watching her performances in Tokyo 2020, she certainly celebrates the good times.

What can we learn from para-athlete Hannah Cockroft? Train hard, compete even harder and do it with a smile plastered on your face. Celebrate your successes and see your “failures” as chances to do better in the future.

The Natalie’s – Netball players

OK, so we might have fibbed a bit here when we said we only picked five top female athletes, we’ve picked six! England Roses netball players Natalie Haythornthwaite and Natalie Panagarry are Elite Netball Academy Ambassadors, and they inspire us daily. Their commitment and work rate to the sport they love is incredible. When you throw in the sacrifices, they have both had to make to become world-class netball players, it makes it all the more special. The passion and knowledge they bring when they join us at classes and on camps blow us away. Experience is something you learn over time, it cannot be bought and these two soak up knowledge like sponges. They learn new skills, take them onboard and add them to their growing toolbox.

They are masters at reading the game and reflecting on their own performance to benefit the team. They’re always pushing for more and looking for new opportunities to succeed.

What can we learn from netball players Natalie Haythornthwaite and Natalie Panagarry? Never stop believing. Keep working, keep learning and keep being the best you can be. You’ll start to knock down doors and the possibilities of what you can achieve will be endless.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on our favourite British female athletes. Take some time to think about who your favourite athletes are, and why? Establishing why you like certain athletes will help you establish your own values when it comes to training and games.

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