Sharni Layton Australian Diamonds Interview
The 2014 Real Insurance International Test Series has seen the Diamonds, Australia's national netball team and current title holders of the World Champions, host two of the world's leading teams, the New Zealand Silver Ferns and England Netball Team over three Tests in Melbourne, Sydney, Bendigo and will this week finish the year with a two-Test series against world number three ranked England in Bendigo and Canberra.
Sharni Layton is a member of Australia's Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning line-up and an extremely versatile player. Sharni can cover all three defensive positions and has a never-say-die attitude on the court. By her own admission, Sharni was never the player with the best skills or the first picked for teams…in fact, she missed out on numerous selections. However Sharni is hard-working and tenacious and fights for every ball. It is this attitude and self-belief that saw Sharni receive a scholarship to the AIS, become vice-captain of the 2009 World Youth Netball Championship winning side and take out the Best Young Player Award in Australia's top league.
Sharni is also brand ambassador for Real Insurance, official partners of the International Test Series. Together they are passionate about promoting participation and inclusion at all levels of community regardless of ability.
A Q&A session with Sharni will be held on Facebook giving netball fans the opportunity to ask any questions to Sharni and have her respond in real time.
October 28th, 2014
Those interested must -like' the Real Insurance Facebook page to be able to participate
Interview with Sharni Layton
Question: How have The Diamonds played at the Insurance Netball Test Series?
Sharni Layton: We have played extremely well during the 2014 Real Insurance Netball Test Series. Netball Australia has done a great job of integrating youth with experience and as a team of 12 along with the support staff we really push each other to the limits. Every performance counts and we have to make sure we keep our standards high on and off the court if we want to maintain success in working towards World Championships in Sydney next year.
Question: What originally inspired your passion for netball?
Sharni Layton: I started playing netball at the age of 5. My older sister played and mum coached. I always enjoyed playing, however my passion wasn't ignited until my mid-teens.
I loved the competitiveness and the feeling of working together with others to strive towards a common goal, as well as having fun along the way. I believe the reward of working truly hard and contributing to a team's success – whatever your role may be - brings happiness and self-satisfaction.
Question: Can you talk us through your training schedules?
Sharni Layton: On tour we generally have one court work session a day and one strength and conditioning (weights) session per week. If you don't play on match day then we do a make up fitness session to ensure we are keeping up our fitness standards.
A side from training we do a lot of performance analysis individually and as a group. We also get regular physio /massage treatment to keep our bodies functioning well.
When preparing for tour in our home states, in a week we would have 2-3 individual court work sessions, 2 strength sessions and 1-2 fitness sessions (on court/sprint session and an off legs session) per week. We also have to make sure we are seeing the physio and getting regular massage to keep our body in tiptop shape. I also like to chuck in 1 yoga session a week to help with my flexibility and keep the body/soul in check!
Question: How does diet complement your training schedule?
Sharni Layton: Diet is so important in complementing training! Especially when we are on tour as we have restricted timeframes in between games.
Fueling the body, recovering properly and staying hydrated are 3 main points!
FUEL: I see food as -fuel' in my lifestyle. I eat over an hour before a game/training & will have good sources of carbohydrates, proteins, good fats (eggs, avocado, nuts etc) and leafy greens. I will then have a light snack (banana/nuts) around half an hour before match time. I avoid anything over sugary, processed or high in saturated fats as these don't serve my body and will make me feel -flat' when training.
RECOVERY: Recovery is extremely important! I eat within half an hour of completing exercise which consists of protein and carbs to replenish my body (banana & yoghurt, sustagen/milk based drinks) The only exception for this is if I'm at home within the hour having lunch or dinner. It's not just for immediate recovery – it helps my concentration at work the next day and my how my body feels at next training session.
HYDRATION: We do hydration testing everyday and it's not acceptable to be dehydrated the day of a game because it's too late to play catch ups. It's important to frequently drink water (I drink at least 2-3L per day) as I lose of H20 through sweat at training. However you don't want to be waking yourself up in the middle of the night so it's also important you learn what's best for your body!
The combination of these compliments and ensures I get the most out of my training. Yes, I still have -cheat meals' however I have these around times that I'm NOT training or playing so it doesn't affect my performance.
Question: When you're not playing or training for netball; where would we find you?
Sharni Layton: You probably wouldn't find me, as I'd be out exploring. I have had the luxury of growing up in Melbourne and have loved also living in Canberra, Adelaide and now Sydney. I love the outdoors and everything that everywhere has to offer. Any spot I haven't visited is next on my checklist. And if I'm not there then I'll be searching for the best coffee spot around! I work in the offices of Netball NSW so you may also find me here.
Question: What are your top tips for staying fit and healthy?
Sharni Layton: Happiness. Knowing your values and beliefs and living a lifestyle that supports that. If you are unhappy in a relationship, job, family and or social life – chances are you may drink, smoke or binge eat. Take control of your life, write down your goals and put an action plan in place to achieve them. See food as fuel for your body and enjoy the endorphins your body gives off from exercise. If you struggle to work out on your own - go to group gym sessions, boot camps or join hiking/walking groups. Yoga is also a great way to keep yourself connected to YOU! Remember only you can control your thoughts and your perception of life, if you want these to change then only YOU can change them. Surround yourself with supportive/caring networks of people that will encourage the lifestyle that you want to live.
Question: Why is strong the new sexy?
Sharni Layton: Strong is the new sexy because it's more than body image. Strong represents a woman's confidence, her self-belief and the way she holds herself. In terms of body image to me, a strong-bodied female represents motivation to push herself to the limits and although it may still be aesthetic, I believe it's for the intrinsic value of adding to your strengths rather than worrying about other people's perceptions or opinions. Well, that's my opinion anyway!
Hard physical training teaches us that we can push through mental barriers and get more out of our bodies than we ever thought we could achieve. Once this is learned, we can also apply that theory to other aspects of life and start to challenge our own thoughts and beliefs to push outside our comfort zones (which is where the real magic happens).
We're not born with motivation, positive self talk (self-love) or outcome focused thinking, so train your brain as you would your body to consolidate these skills!
Question: What drives you to always stay at the top of your game?
Sharni Layton: To be the best possible version of myself, not only for me but also for the success of the team. I am constantly setting, assessing and resetting my goals, making sure I reward myself when I reach one – no matter how big or small the goal may be. Goals are essential in motivation. I believe I can still improve in my netball skills and smarts and this drives me to want continuous improvement. The feeling of achieving a goal with others as well as premierships (at any level) but also world champs or commonwealth games is exhilarating, almost addictive and once I get a taste, it also spurs me on to want more.
Question: What other sports do you enjoy?
Sharni Layton: I'm a bit of a sports nut. Growing up in Melbourne I love AFL, however since living in Sydney I have come to appreciate Union and League. I also enjoy the women and men's A-League. I love following all sports possible at Australian level as I love getting my green and gold on.
Question: What advice do you have for young girls who hope to play netball, professionally?
Sharni Layton: Aspire to play professionally, however make sure you enjoy every minute playing a long the way. See knock backs as feedback – not failure. I missed out on many teams before crawling through the cracks. My motto has always been 'Give it your all, and if you miss out on a team knowing there was nothing else you could have done. Then that's okay".
Since committing myself to netball I have still missed out on teams – but I have continued to learn from the feedback and continued to push up through the ranks. Remember by choosing a team sport it's about WE and not ME. You can aspire to be the best you can be, but it's also about how you contribute and help bring the best out of others for the teams best performance.
Mindset can be harder to teach then skills, so go in with a great willingness to learn and a hard working attitude, then the coach can teach you the rest.
Last but not least – balance. You need to have a healthy balance of sport/social/family/study. At times you will have to make sacrifices however happiness comes from a well-balanced life.
Question: How can fans get in touch with you?
Sharni Layton: If you simply want to see what I'm up to then it's easiest to follow me on social media.
I can also be contacted via my website www.sharnz.com and will always aim to respond to enquiries as quickly promptly as possible.
Just like Real Insurance our official, partner I love giving back to the communities to pay forward what I have learnt on my journey thus far and love hearing from others with their stories.
Interview by Brooke Hunter