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Letter from Nicole

Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be a top level sportsperson. I can remember watching the tennis on television. When it was over I'd grab my racquet and start hitting a ball against a brick wall of the house. Occassionally I'd hit a window and get yelled at, but luckily it never broke.

Then came the Olympics! Swimming, gymnastics and long jump were my favourites. My sister and I would run out to the front yard and put together a wonderful display of gymnastics for the neighbours. The training I had when I was four came in handy for this.

Then came swimming - training twice a day five days a week and competing on weekends. Sometimes I didn't want to go, especially on those freezing cold weekends, but I liked the competition. I knew I had to do all the hard training every day to reach the state and national titles.

It was at this time I had to make, for me, a major decision. My swimming coach said I had to choose between netball and swimming. As you probably guessed I chose netball. I'd been playing since I was six and loved it. Everyone at home got used to me, hassling them to play with me - throw the ball, catch the ball, defend me. What a pain I was; hyperactive some would say.

During my last school year I represented the school on swimming, basketball, netball and waterpolo. I enjoyed all sports. Towards the end of that year I accepted a scholarship at the AIS in Canberra.

For two years I worked very hard on my netball, not just the physical side but mentally as well. I set myself specific short-term and long-tern goals. Each time I reached one of my goals I set myself another. It is important to know where you want to go and how you are going to get there. It does take a lot of hard work and determination, but there are rewards.

I have met many people, made many new friends and travelled to many places through netball. I have been billeted in rural areas on New South Wales, competed in every capital city in Australia, travelled across the Tasman to play in New Zealand countless times and toured England, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Hawaii and the West Indies.

The support from my family, friends and all my coached, has helped make me an Australian player, and the person I am today. You too, can make your dreams come true.

Adapted from "The 7 Steps to Netball Success" Written by Gillian Lee.

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