For the first article of my new series interviewing upcoming athletes I have had the opportunity to interview Zoe Allanson- an upcoming athlete who has recently been accepted into the Long squad for the England roses U17 team. She has many other amazing achievements at the age of 16 including coming third in the country at the U15 inter franchise tournament.
I interviewed her on many aspects on being an upcoming athlete including how she copes managing her workload and her aspirations for the future.
When did your love for netball first develop?
'I've always enjoyed netball, but especially when i was younger i went through a stage of being one of the best players and then as everyone else improved i stopped enjoying it so much. Once i got to about 13/14 I realised that something could come from my hard work and found myself smiling loving training and matches. Once i got over the fact and grew out of my younger 'I must win EVERYTHING' attitude, I learnt that there is people better than me but finding and having a love for my sport will get me through the years of training and knock backs.'
What are your goals for the future?
'Since i was at the age of 7 I've wanted to go to the Olympics and earn international honours. I aspire to play for the England netball roses senior squad, and I would love to have the opportunity to play against other countries. I would also love to play abroad, the Australian league is currently the best most competitive league and a life out there is something i would consider!'
What advice would you give other upcoming athletes?
If you work hard success will come, it can take a long time to see an improvement and to be noticed but it will come in time.
You aren’t always going to experience success and how you learn from your failures is what will shape you as an athlete, striving to become better and taking a knock back in your stride will only see benefits.
Continue to love your sport whilst taking every opportunity to learn and improve your performance.
‘Work hard and win everything’
Do you find it difficult managing to balance A-levels whilst training?
'I do find it hard as a whole to balance all my work just because when i do get free time i often am shattered and am desperate for a rest or to see my friends. However sport has taught me really good discipline and time management. I am an extremely organised person so as a whole I tend to stay on top of my work. A-Levels are definitely a new challenge and a lot more work but so far i'm finding it okay.'
What are your tips for managing your workload?
Create lists through the week, i find these a really good visual representation of what I need to get done and it can provide a sense of self satisfaction to see a complete list and all the tasks I have completed.
Keep working hard: I have had to remind my self many times that im only going to improve if i work harder and try my best, and although sitting on my phone is relaxing it isn’t going to help me complete my work!
Communication with friends, family and coaches is key: sometimes it can be really hard to not see my friends because im so busy with work and sport but I've learnt to just keep my friends and family in the loop and a quick 15 min call can really help just to explain and catch up. My true friends understand my commitment to sport and they are all so supportive and understand my commitments.
Stay organised! Keeping on top of work is so important especially when I've got a busy weekend or week. Learning to focus and set aside time for tasks is so key to staying productive in order to get everything done in limited time.
Who do you look up to in team sport?
'Within my team i will always look up to my captain, they been given this role due to their personality and commitment to the sport and therefore i must take it as an opportunity to learn from them. I also admire Natalie Haythornthwaite who is a frequent captain within the England senior squad for her positivity on court alongside her dedication to sport.'
What is your training schedule?
'I try to do something every day just to keep active and my mind engaged a normal week will look like:
Monday: AM - 25 min walk, Lunch: 5+km run, PM: online zoom netball training 1.5h
Tuesday: AM: netball ball work, Lunch S&C + fitness 1h,
Wednesday: AM: run 7km, Lunch: ball work, PM: online 1h S&C, 1h technical (match analysis etc)
Thursday: Am: Ball work, PM: Netball simulation (weights, footwork, sprints)
Friday: PM: weights 1h
Sat: AM: yoga Netball ball work - REST
Sun: RESt, England netball recovery call (stretching) '
It was great interviewing Zoe and finding out more about her life as an upcoming athlete!