Having struggled with lonely larryitus in the second half of the season, I was really looking forward to heading back to England and some familiar faces. Being back in the Roses environment was an exciting prospect for me as the group of athletes I get to train against and alongside are lifelong friends, who I share 90% of my best (and worst) netball memories with. Roses camp was filled with IOMS, (instant onset of muscle soreness... trust me it's a thing!!) meetings and opportunities to familiarise ourselves as a team and set our intentions for the big tour ahead.
Perth is far from everywhere, even from the rest of Australia, but also from the rest of the world. However, when I flew home, I slept for 8/10hrs on the first leg of the trip, enjoyed a little wander around Dubai Airport and then slept another 2/7hrs on the second leg of my trip from Dubai to London. But the trip back to Australia and to Brisbane for the first game of the Quad series was a completely different beast. 7hrs to Dubai, a 2.5hr layover and then 14hrs to Brisbane ☹
I was lucky to have an exit row seat on the first flight and then a row of three to myself on the second!! I’d also like to say I'm a pro at a plane journey as I stuff my little backpack with everything I can to make my flight as comfortable as it can be for optimal sleep and with numerous entertainment options for my waking hours.
I don't think anyone I know or even I would describe myself as lacking in confidence. However, as well as having previously lost the love for netball, I think I also lost a little confidence in myself. I think that as an athlete you are responsible for building your own confidence by showing diligence to your training programme, which will lead to you executing in a competitive environment when given the opportunity, and leading a healthy lifestyle well. I also think though that a coach has a responsibility to help build an athletes confidence.
Having recommited myself to netball last year, and having had a relatively consistent and competitive season in one of the best netball environments around, I couldn't help but feel reassured of my capabilities, and able to take a renewed level of confidence with me into the international environment.
Having made my debut for England in 2010 and amassing over 50 caps since then, I am by no means a youngster in terms of biology or experience in the international environment. The full-time athlete lifestyle that I am fortunate to lead is one that I do not take for granted, and the opportunity to wear the red dress again is incredibly exciting, as the last time I did so was in a home series against Jamaica just before I flew to Perth to join West Coast Fever at the end of 2016.
In any walk of life in order to succeed I believe you must have confidence in your own abilities and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to prove to myself that the international environment is one too that I can thrive and make further strides in.
I’m definitely going to check in again at the conclusion of the Quad Series, however, I really hope that out of sight really isn’t out of mind and that the Fever fans can get behind me at least as an individual throughout the tests!
Stacey and the England Roses begin their Quad Series campaign against Courtney Bruce and the Australian Diamonds on Saturday, August 26. The match will be shown LIVE on Channel 9 from 1.00pm (AWST).