Sporting Schools School Yard to Sports Star: Natalie Medhurst
Image: Natalie Medhurst, Shooter for the West Coast Fever and Australian Diamonds
Do you remember your first goal, score or win when you played school sport and how did it feel?
That was certainly a long time ago now. While I don’t remember my first goal, I remember playing with friends, laughing lots, trying to learn how to ‘pivot’ correctly and playing all the different positions on the court. Growing up, ‘centre’ and ‘goal defence’ were my favorite positions – it is strange that I ended up being a goal attack!
What’s your fondest memory of playing sport at school?
Definitely playing with friends and playing the sport for the sheer enjoyment of it. There would often also be school carnivals and I remember going to those with my mum and friends, having the back of the car stocked with food and trying to hide from the rain and the cold when we weren’t playing!
How old were you when it ‘clicked’ that you wanted to be a professional sports player?
Honestly, it probably wasn’t until I was about 18. Growing up in country South Australia I played lots of sports and, to be honest, netball - at the time - wasn’t my ‘preferred’ sport; I actually wanted to play basketball. I am extremely fortunate to have now played for my Country for the past 10 years and know that it is both an absolute privilege and something I’ve worked extremely hard to achieve.
What are your top three tips to children about playing sport?
- Play different sports! Growing up I played a wide range of sports including netball, basketball, athletics, tennis and hockey, and it wasn’t until I was 16 that netball became the only sport I played. I truly believe playing different sports allows you to learn different skills, exposes you to different situations and people, and allows you to enjoy playing sport without too much pressure or taking things too seriously too early.
- Get the basics right and always work on them! Too often players (& coaches) look to do ‘fancy’ things rather than really focusing on the basic fundamentals of their chosen sport. At the end of the day, whenever you are in a tough situation, it is those basic things that are going to get you out of any situation. Do them well!
- Be kind to your teammates. Everyone is learning and trying their best. Particularly in team sports, you can’t do it without those around you. Make sure you continue to support each other, cheer when they do something well and be there to help if they make a mistake. You don’t have to be best friends, but you must support each other as it will make it far more enjoyable when you do.
To read more about the Sporting Schools Netball program, click here.