Meet netball player Amy Sommerville!
Amy has been working with our nutritionist Christina to help her fuel her performance on the court.
Has there been a defining moment in your netball career?
Yes, most definitely. When I moved back to NSW, after living at the AIS for 18 months, I fell into a bad mental state. I was angry at Netball and Netball wasn’t bringing me as much joy as it had used to. My mindset was that I had wasted so much time playing Netball, I was watching my close Netball friends succeed , while I was being left behind. . I felt like no `one understood what I was going through and didn’t feel like I could speak to anyone about it because I didn’t want people to think I was being selfish, or making a bigger deal of something that so many athletes go through, it wasn’t as if I was the first one to have ruptured my ACL and not make teams.
One day in 2014 my sister said to me, if you give up now you will regret it. (Plus a few more colourful words and some tough love) From that day I changed, I worked hard and put a large focus on why I played Netball. In 2015, I was asked to sit on the bench for the NSW Swifts to cover an injury. I was shocked! Making the elite level was always in the back of my mind, but I never thought it would happen, I was just playing Netball because I loved it. At the end of 2015, when I received the phone call offering me a contract to be a full time NSW Swift for the 2016 season, I was mind blown. Growing up in NSW, wearing the red dress was the ultimate goal! From almost giving up and quitting Netball, to now being a professional Netballer, I was so incredibly grateful. I have been lucky enough to be a part of Professional Netball for five years, representing the NSW Swifts and the QLD Firebirds, I may not have played much or have been a household name, but I gained so much from those five years and wouldn’t change the hurdles I had to go over to eventually get there.
What has been a challenging moment and how have you overcome it?
I have most definitely not had the smoothest netball journey, it has been a roller coaster!
I have had a few challenging moments that have stuck out. The first one was rupturing my ACL in 2012, it was in the lead up to the World Youth Cup in 2013, which only comes around every 4 years. My whole world came crashing down as soon as I found out I had ruptured my ACL, I had 12 months to get back to playing at a high standard and to compete at a week long international tournament. After multiple complications from surgery it set me back 3 months and I was heartbroken. I was lucky enough to have been living down at the Australian Institute of Sport for my rehab and I managed to get back and trial, but I was in no shape or form to be selected, which was incredibly heart-breaking. It probably took me two years to overcome it, I worked so hard in my rehab and still constantly have to do exercises to make sure it is strong. Another challenging moment was being dropped from the NSW Swifts, being a Netballer for so long, Netball becomes a huge part of your identity and to have your life long goal ripped away from you was devastating. I am still learning who I am away from Netball, but it is so important to have as much balance as you possibly can. Whether that is having a job, studying at university and just finding time for the things you love to do.
What drives you to train so hard and play week in week out?
I genuinely just enjoy turning up each week and seeing my teammates, coaches, and everyone involved in the club. As i’ve gotten older I have put a large emphasis on leaving the sport in a better place than where it was when I started. I have been so fortunate to have played elite Netball and have access to incredible resources and be paid to play. A lot of players will never get to experience that, so being a part of the Carina Leagues Club Tigers, I hope to be able to provide the girls with as much experience and access to great services as possible to help them be the best athlete they can be, whether that be for the Tigers or if they go on to represent Australia.
What role has nutrition played for you?
Nutrition has given me the tools and knowledge to be able to appreciate my body for what it allows me to do on court. It has helped me fuel my body and it reminds me that every athlete is different. I have never been the fittest in a team and would often judge myself against the leaner girls. I still compare my body shape to other players and do feel self conscious about it. Nutrition has helped me have a healthy relationship with food, not just at Netball but in everyday life.
Want to find out more about other athletes’ personal journeys within their sport? Read more about sponsored athlete Baily Devantier-Thomas and his journey with Mountain Biking / Cycling and nutrition!.