Erin Bell: Netball Star Goes for Gold at The World Cup
Erin Bell is one of the best netballers in Australia, and is currently a member of the Australian Diamonds. Erin will be competing in the Netball World Cup later this month. Erin started out playing when she was 8 years old, from there she has risen through the ranks of netball in Australia.
Erin predominately plays Goal Attack (GA), Goal Shoot (GS), and Wing Attack (WA). She has shown her versatility by seamlessly transitioning from her Adelaide Thunderbirds team, to the Australian Diamonds. Erin’s natural talent, determination and love of the game are all key contributors to her success. Erin is also willing to transfer her knowledge, by providing training sessions to netballers of every age; which highlights her desire to give back to the sport she loves so much.
When did you first start playing netball? What got you into the sport? Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?
I started playing netball when I was 8 years old for a club in Sydney called the Menai Hawks. I started playing because my friends at school were playing and in particular one of my friends mum was coach so she let me join in. My mum had started me in dancing but I wanted to play netball! I looked up to the older netballers in my club and representative teams as well as female athletes like Jana Pitman and Sharelle McMahon for inspiration.
With the upcoming World Cup, do you feel more pressure as it is on home soil? Will you have family watching you play?
I am so excited the World Cup is in Sydney! It means that my family and friends can all come along without having to travel which is rare! I don’t think it means more pressure at all, I think the Diamonds are such a successful team and also being reigning World Champions it wouldn’t matter where the tournament was being played there would be that pressure. To have it on home soil only adds to the excitements and it means that in those big medal matches we will have the crowd on our side!
As you have competed in multiple World Cups, what has changed from your first time competing? Is there anything that you know now, which you wish you could have told yourself before competing for the first time?
Although 2011 was only 4 years ago I feel like I certainly have grown and matured as a player and also a person in between my first World Cup and now. In 2011 everything was new and I was just so excited to be there in the green and gold for the first time and experience everything, soak it all up and enjoy it.
This time around I am no longer a fresh face, the opposition know who I am and have watched me play at the Thunderbirds and with the Diamonds in and out for the past 4 years. So I guess this means I am more experienced and hopefully can have a greater contribution on and off court for the team. It is actually really nice to reflect on my first World Cup and remember to tell myself to enjoy this experience and not put too much pressure on myself to perform.
As you have come up through the ranks of Australian netball, what advice would you give to any girls looking to further themselves in netball and earn a place on the Australian team? Was there a key figure in your progression in netball who you think helped most in turning you into the great player you are today?
I always tell young aspiring netballers that there is no one right way to ‘make it’ to the top. Everyone has a different journey. For me when we were growing up we were basically led to believe that if you didn’t make the 21s and Under squad to live at the AIS (it was then a residential program) then you would never play for Australia. So here I was at 22yrs old thinking that my dreams of playing for Australia were over because I never went to the AIS. 2 years later I was living in a different state, playing with a different ANZ team and making my debut for Australia in WA- a position I rarely played!
So for me the message has always been for youngsters to set themselves goals and do whatever it takes to make them come true, have resilience to get through the times that will come when it seems your dreams aren’t going to happen – push through them and don’t let negative thoughts take over. I have had a lot of people support me through my journey and I think it is important to surround yourself with those people who will be honest with you but most importantly support and help you be the best you can be. Surround yourself with people who believe in you but always, regardless of what people say you must believe in yourself.