Verity Simmons will take the next step in her netball career when she goes to the Australian Institute of Sport in 2010.
Verity Simmons will take the next step in her netball career when she goes to the Australian Institute of Sport in 2010.

Clarence netball star heads to AIS

VERITY Simmons hails from the small farming community of Southgate where she grew up as a typical country kid with country values.

Verity lives and breathes netball and in an attempt to further her career shewill be moving to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) early nextyear – and she is counting down the days.

So Verity, when did you start playing netball and why?

When I was about four years old. My whole family were involved, even my uncle, aunties and grandmother

You have recently been selected in the AIS netball squad. What did it take to get to that level?

It started with Nationals and then they pick an Australian under-19 side. Talent scouts and the Australian netball coach Norma Plummer looked at us at the trials and at games and they pick the team from there.

In a recent interview you said that while at the AIS you will be required to train and play most days of the week. Do you think you will ever get tired of running up and down the court?

Not really. I haven’t actually been in the AIS environment yet but the heaviest training I have done so far is four days a week. I love it, I love getting into a routine ... I love routine.

You grew up on a farm. Moving to Canberra will be a huge lifestyle change so how do you think you will cope?

It will be sweet. I’m also finishing year 12 down there. It will be fairly strict and we will have house-parents who are apparently pretty strict. You have to be in bed by 10pm each night. Having my sister Marley down there will help.

Having your sister Marley close by will be a bonus. She has also made a name for herself in netball, how do you rate her as a player?

I’ve always looked up to Marley and she has always been supportive. I definitely rate her as a good player. She is actually working at the AIS as a personal trainer so I can’t wait to get there, we’ll finally be living near each other.

Who do you admire most as a sportsperson or who do you model yourself on?

Temepara George from New Zealand. She plays in the same position as me, she is only small but she is so strong and explosive ... everything about her is good.

Most people would not be aware that you have recently found out that you have diabetes. When did you find out and what adjustments do you have to make to manage your lifestyle?

I moved down to Newcastle and it was in September when I found out. They put me on insulin straight way. A couple of days later I was getting my shoulder operation so it was crazy for a few weeks. I don’t usually drink alcohol, well I can’t which is good for my sport. I watch what I eat and keeping fit is very important. Touch wood, it’s been all right.

Netball is very demanding on the body. How has your body held up over the years and have you suffered any major injuries?

I’ve dislocated my shoulder twice and my knee has required treatment. I just had an injection in my knee. They took blood from my arm to put white blood cells in my knee; it helps get my patellar tendonitis under control. You just have to accept that injuries are a part of sport.

Netball has a lot of “in your face” defence and can be quite physical. How do you keep in control and get the better of your opponent?

They say netball is not a contact sport, but I can tell you it is. They are on you all the time so speed helps; you need to do plenty of sprint training. I try to make my opposite get angry and chase me, get them upset so they lose focus.

What’s the best advice you have been given regarding sport?

My Nan told me to never give up and also to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it you won’t perform.

Netball is fast becoming a major sport in Australia and has recently been televised on Fox Sports. Do you think the players will ever become full-time professionals?

I think it will take a bit more time for it to build up. Eventually with the numbers and the amount of women playing I think it will be the next big thing in women’s sport, well I hope so.

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