New City, New Team - My Next Adventure

2 years ago

New Magpie Erin Bell talks about the challenge of moving cities, joining a new team, and challenging herself at this stage of her career.

Erin Bell & The Sports Source - 19 December, 2017

A New Environment

Joining Collingwood will be a new experience for me, which is a positive thing.

It’s really exciting to join this group and build on what they’ve already created.

The girls did a good job last year making finals and coming fourth. Starting a new club from scratch is tough, however, they weren’t happy with how they finished.

You just look at this team and they sell themselves. For me though, it was more about challenging myself, to see what I could do in a new environment. Being able to experience an elite environment where there are three different codes under the one roof and being able to learn from these other athletes and staff is an opportunity that I didn’t think I would get this late in my career.

Having such a large professional organisation heading up netball, really is a whole new world. Not just for the teams under this roof, but also for netball as a sport. I think how Collingwood can challenge the boundaries of traditional netball is a way our sport can grow and move forward.

This group has a lot of experience and senior players established which is a great thing to have. To be able to come in and not necessarily have any kind of formal leadership role allows me to do what I do best, which is to lead by example and work hard in the background to get the job done.

I guess being able to be myself and share my experiences with players is a great opportunity. I’ll always offer any little tips or things that I’ve learnt at training or picked up in games over the years to my team mates to try and help them be the best they can be.

Also, being able to offer a different perspective is a great thing. I have a fresh set of eyes coming from a different environment where I’ve experienced a lot of different things. Being able to offer those experiences to this new environment and bring in different opinions I hope will be useful.

The whole group will be exciting to play with. I think playing with Caitlin Thwaites in goals and Madi Robinson and Kim Ravaillion in the attack end is pretty exciting. Teaming up with Alice Teague-Neeld and Shae Brown will be great as I’ve never played with them and it will be great to see how we gel and what we can bring out of each other.

It’s great to have someone like Sharni Layton on my side because she is a fierce competitor and tough to play against, so being on her team is definitely a better position to be in than having to be against her!

One of my big focuses this preseason is seeing what I am able to do physically and discovering what I have inside me mentally. I’ve been through many preseasons, so I kind of know how fit you have to be and how strong you have to be in order to play netball, so this pre season is about doing things I haven’t done before to get that little extra edge.

Having new coaches who can look at me from a different point of view is great. They may notice something about me and my game that other coaches haven’t picked up and add something new into training to see if I can get something more out of body and myself that will help my performance.

Coming into a new group I think there is an element of having to prove yourself and earn the respect of your team mates. For me, little things like training hard, pushing yourself, not taking shortcuts and making sure you hit the line at every drill makes people accept you more.

The worst thing you want to do as a new player is short cutting drills, finishing at the back of the pack and all those types of things. The most important thing for me is showing through my actions that I’m serious about being here and putting in a good performance for the team.

I think that’s the best way you’ll earn respect from the group and find your way to fit in.

Facing Familiar Faces

I’ll be really excited and also have a mixed bag of emotions the first time we come up against the Thunderbirds. We play them in Melbourne first, which is a good thing because it’ll be our home crowd and it won’t be as daunting as going to Adelaide.

Obviously I’ll prepare like I do every other game and try to not let the emotion get to me at all. I think with the support of the girls and staying focused on what I need to do, will let me handle the emotions easily when the game comes around.

It will probably be the same feeling which I had when I first played the Swifts after moving to Adelaide. It’s a little a bit weird at the start, but as the game progresses, you just get on with it.

Educating The Next Generation

As our sport grows one of the main things that is different is actually off the court; the world of social media.

We never had to deal with social media ten years ago. Now, players have more of it and they’re going to be under a lot more scrutiny going forward. We need to be able to set players up to ensure they can cope with it.

It’s important for all athletes to remember that social media is just another opinion and it doesn’t define you. I think that’s where athletes get caught up thinking too much into some keyboard warrior saying things about you, which can bring you down.The truth is everyone has an opinion however social media allows people to actually put it out there where other people can see it, so its up to us to control what we read.

When social media first came out, I thought it was great that I can interact with fans, which I still think it can be, but I think you need to limit how much you’re taking in because if you read one hurtful comment, it can bring you down for weeks. It’s up to us to control it, which is easier said than done sometimes.

I think one of the most important roles we have as senior players is to leave the sport in a good place. Anyway we can help the younger players, is setting up our sport for the long term future. Educating the players on what we’ve learnt can help them and involving them in things like the Players Association is really important. If we can make really confident, smart players, then I think that will benefit our competition.

Netballers have always been good with having a really strong work ethic and knowing where we come from. It’s important to educate the younger players about our history, so they can appreciate what they have.

To me, keeping our humble and hardworking reputation that our sport has is really important and a legacy I hope to contribute to.

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