In the final post in this series, we chat to Elite Netball Academy’s head coach and founder Anna Carter to find out how the fear of missing out got her into the game and what advice she would give to her younger self.

What’s your earliest netball memory?

Attending my first netball practice at junior school, I didn’t want to go as I preferred football and felt netball was too much of a girly game for me. However, all my friends started going and I was worried about missing out so along I went. Even now, I remember everything about the session like it was yesterday, fair to say after that, I was hooked.

Who inspired you to chase your netball dream?

Marion Lofthouse was a coach of mine and was an inspiration to me as a young player whatever came out of her mouth in my opinion was law. She inspired, educated and gave every player she worked with a passion to be better. I was very fortunate to have Marion as a coach and now a dear friend. Marion saw the game like no one else I’d worked with before and understood what it took to become an England player. As I went into coaching, she was and still is a mentor to me and has shaped how I work with players and coaches now.

What has netball taught you?

Netball has taught me a lot, in fact, I could write a novel about every aspect of netball. The most important thing netball has taught me is to enjoy your successes. I’ve been lucky to win a number of things as a player and a coach, but my eye has always been on the next ambition or project, you must allow yourself time to process, pat yourself and your teammates on the back and say “well done, that was pretty awesome.”

If you weren’t a netballer, what would you do?

I love health and fitness and also supporting people to reach their goals, so I would have looked into a personal trainer or strength and conditioner. In fact, I’m studying for a personal training qualification at the moment!

Anna Carter
Anna Carter, Elite Netball Academy Founder and Head Coach

What’s your favourite netball moment to date?

Winning National Clubs u19’s for the first time with YWCA Bury as a player, a long story with lots of personal things going on in the background but against all the odds we won.

Any pre-game superstitions you can’t drop?

I’ve never bought into superstitions just had a strong and consistent game day routine as a player and a coach that I’ve improved on and refined over the years!

And finally, what would you say to your ten-year-old self in relation to life goals and netball?

A number of things, bit firstly have self-belief in your ability and what you want to achieve. I always worked hard on the court and always did the training that was asked of me and I don’t think you can ever regret working hard and leaving it all out there. Always look at how your can progress your performance the job is never done, as a high-performance players and coaches you have to continuously look at how to evolve and improve.

Be a positive influence in the environment you work in, as a player I liked a good moan and could be very critical. I wish now I’d been more positive and looked at how I could support and improve the environment rather than criticize it. And finally, enjoy the ride more, being a player doesn’t last forever but the achievements and the wins are there forever, take the time to celebrate them.

For more from Anna and her netball insights, follow Elite Netball Academy on Facebook.

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Meet Elite Netball Academy’s Brand Ambassador Natalie Haythornthwaite and coach Chloe Smith

In the third post in this series, we chat to one of Elite Netball Academy’s coaches Chloe Smith to find out why a diary is an essential part of her kit bag and what she eats before a match – the answer might surprise you!

What’s your earliest netball memory?

My earliest netball memory is from when I was playing in a high five tournament at a high school close to me. I was playing C and I got a shot in from outside the circle, I was so proud of myself, all my team ran in excitedly and gave me a hug. But obviously the goal was disallowed because a C can’t shoot! I was really upset at the time – it was such a good shot!

Who inspired you to chase your netball dream?

There are two key people who have inspired me to get to where I am today. the first person is my old Regional Performance Academy coach Alex Kirk (now known as Alex Young). Alex changed my game and triggered my love for netball. She worked me hard and ALWAYS made me finish every single repetition to a high standard no matter how long it took (sometimes the full 2-hour session!). I always say Alex was the best and worst coach I ever had, she was brutal and challenged me with some of the hardest fitness sessions I’ve ever completed.

The second person that inspired me to get where I am today is my mum. My mum always made sure I got to training and that I was on time, she waited at every training session, came to every game, and dealt with the tears along the way. My mum taught me that hard work never goes unnoticed (she proved this herself in our home and her own professional career) and that if I keep working hard and pushing on I will reap the rewards.

Elite Netball Academy Coach

What has netball taught you?

Netball has taught me so many things, one of the most transferable skills is probably that it’s taught me how to manage my time and be organised. Thanks to Joan Young who made a diary an essential part of my kit bag. It has taught me that being part of a team, part of something, is so much more enjoyable than trying to battle through things on your own. Netball has also taught me how to keep positive and have a positive mindset. I feel like this is one of the most important lessons I have learned to date, especially in lockdown and with the pandemic. Some days I really don’t want to go and train but I know that if I do I will feel so much better physically and mentally.

If you weren’t a netballer, what would do?

That’s a tricky one, I honestly don’t know! Netball is my life! I can only relate this question to different types of training that I enjoy to do so maybe a CrossFit athlete?

What’s your favourite netball moment to date?

Most people would probably say winning a medal or a huge tournament or a big game but for me, it was having all the girls back training together after the first COVID lockdown. The vibe was so good, we were so excited to be back. It was so nice to have some of my closest friends and the most amazing athletes all in the same place at the same time after what felt like a lifetime of not seeing each other! Just IMAGINE what the first game back is going to be like… I CANNOT WAIT!!

Any pre-game superstitions you can’t drop

I do have one pre-game superstition, I have to have a piece of cake before a game, or I won’t play well. It’s a good excuse to have a piece of cake every week right?

And finally, what would you say to your ten-year-old self in relation to life goals and netball?

Make sure you balance netball and your life goals as evenly as possible. Your future is important and so is your love for this game, work hard and find the time to do both, don’t make excuses.

Elite NetballAcademy

Meet Elite Netball Academy’s Brand Ambassador Natalie Haythornthwaite and head coach and founder Anna Carter.