There is a rare percentage of us that pick elite sport and chase that dream with all their heart. With the demand on elite athletes stronger than ever many are having to chase the dream of life after sport. More elite athletes are choosing to study while they pursue their careers so that they have something to lean on when they finish their sporting career.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to complete everything on that very long to do list some of us keep. Add to that balancing work, school, sport and social commitments and it just seems like a struggle on a good day and impossible on a bad one.
Canberra GIANTS player, Eliza Burton is one of these athletes. In her debut season for the Canberra GIANTS Burton played 21 quarters of netball. The 19-year-old ACT native also plays across two other elite netball teams throughout the season, as well as studying full-time at university to become a nurse and having a part-time job.
Burton was able to lay a foundation for managing her university, training and work schedules throughout high school, having school and netball on board certainly helped.
“It was good especially having my school on board and netball were very understanding. I organised my class around netball as much as I could which was helpful so I elected to do a morning class so that I would have more time in the day to do school work or go to training,” Burton said.
Transitioning from high school to university meant a change in planning strategy for Burton as she now had to incorporate travel to Sydney to play for the NSW Premier League.
“I found it easier than my university as I didn’t have to travel up to Sydney. I plan month by month around my university and my training schedule,” Burton said.
Planning work and study days is just as important as training and university for Burton.
“I will always plan that I will work a day and then I will always have a day off, where I have no university, but maybe a training and still time to study,” Burton said.
Burton is not alone in finding her balance, GIANTS netball players Georgia Marshall and Amy Parmenter are also doing the same. Marshall doesn’t quite know how she has managed to get through the Netball season while studying and working.
“I am studying property economics, and this is my last semester, which is very intense at the moment, I don’t know I have managed to somehow do a bit of work, full-time study and full-time netty. It has been a big struggle and it has been very hard to put it all together, but I have somehow managed,” Marshall said.
While it can be a struggle to manage it all, Parmenter uses her study time as a welcome break from the intensity of training and to do something different.
“I really like doing my degree at the same time, it is nice to not just do netball. I can put my mind on other things, and it is sort of cool to use my brain in a way that is academic and different,” Parmenter said.
Even when the off-season is in full swing, the training never stops for Burton as it has become normal practice for her.
“I am so used to training it isn’t normal to be taking a month of training. Sometimes I find that I do it more, but it is more activities that I find fun and still considered active,” Burton said.
After being told that they would have November off, Burton and her teammates are busy finalising plans for a Hamilton Island getaway.
“So we were told a couple of months ago that we were having November off, so knowing that we decided that we wouldn’t go on holiday before because it would be a bit hard, and a couple of us have planned to go on holiday together,” Burton said.
With all these commitments, these talented players have managed to find time to achieve all their goals for netball, study and travel. Proving to younger netballers that pursuing all your dreams is possible and balance in life can be found after the whistle blows.
Article written by Etta McEwan