Photos by Michael Bradley | www.mbphoto.co.nz
When it comes to goal setting and achieving, Sam Sinclair is something of an expert.
The hugely talented netballer has been involved in the sport since she was just six years old and her enthusiasm has never waned. Even then the determined primary school player dreamed of one day representing New Zealand as a Silver Fern – a goal she is inching closer to each year.
The striking athlete first caught the eye of the Kia Magic team when she was still in high school, impressing with her skills and attitude, which set her up in 2014 to secure a position with the side.
More recently she was selected in the tournament team at the recent Netball New Zealand U23 Champs and was named in the 2015 NZ A Squad.
The talented mid-courter is continuing to build on her impressive run from high school; where she co-captained John Paul College (Rotorua) to victory in the Trans-Tasman Secondary Schools’ competition and was a member of the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ team for three years, as well as featuring in age-group tournaments and Emerging Talent Accelerant Squad.
The former deputy head girl was equally committed to her studies and is now a full-time student at Waikato University, where she juggles her netball commitments with a Bachelor of Management Studies (majoring in marketing).
No one-trick pony, Sam has also played touch rugby, athletics and basketball.
These days she is immersed in the world of netball, but continues to be self motivated and self disciplined enough to ensure she can meet the demands of both her academic and sporting worlds.
Fitness Journal caught up with Sam for a quick Q&A:
Describe your goals for the season?
This year my goal was to get consistent game time and in the starting seven line up for the Waikato BoP Kia Magic team. Due to a fellow mid-courter suffering a major injury early in the season an opening appeared for me to cement a spot in the line-up.
How did it feel to be selected for NZA?
I think it was a tribute to a hard working, pretty big season for me where I trained well, pushing myself in the gym and on the court so that I was in a position to be noticed by selectors in the end. But I’m very honoured to have the opportunity to play alongside some awesome players in this team and begin to build some connections with them.
What does your training involve?
During the season our schedule changes every week because of the varying days we play which is either Saturday, Sunday or Monday. But generally, we will complete three strength sessions a week, two conditioning sessions and two or three court sessions with the team.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your training schedule/lifestyle?
Finding a balance between my sport, study and still being a sociable person. Sometimes it’s easy to become so involved in training and games that the rest of your life goes out the window. But that’s not a healthy way to live.
And the most rewarding?
Seeing how at the end of a season random people can come together to be a pretty special team.
Do you have a mentor/person who inspires you?
I’m inspired by hard-working, determined athletes such as Richie McCaw and Valerie Adams. But mostly I’m inspired by my family, particularly mum and dad who have pretty much played every game with me this season – mum jumping a little higher in her seat every time I caught the ball, dad having my back every time an umpire call goes against me. It’s this sort of support that drives me and motivates me to be a better player.
What are three of the most important things you’ve learned during your years as an athlete?
1) That you can learn something off anyone whether it’s a big name national coach, a school age rep coach, or a fellow player.
2) Hard workers are noticed. So are the slackers. So always work hard because you never know who you’re inspiring.
3) Your biggest competition is yourself. If you constantly compare yourself with others around you, then you will never notice your own improvement or have your own personal goals to achieve.
What was the biggest challenge of being signed to the Kia Magic at such a young age (18)?
It was my first year out of school when I played my first season. The biggest challenge was certainly the fact that being my first year away from home – like any first year uni student – there are a lot of changes. Added responsibilities, having to fend for yourself etc, then on top of that I was playing professional sport. So lots to cope with!
How did being a Sir Ed Scholar influence you?
Being on the programme has meant that while I study and train I don’t have to think too much about the financial side of things as my fees are all covered. It’s also been huge in developing leadership and public speaking attributes as well as having the opportunity to mix and mingle with other top athletes.
How important is nutrition and wellbeing to your success and what do you do?
Very important. It’s the fuel for your body and if what I’m eating isn’t good enough then it is reflected in my performance. I make sure I’m eating a balanced diet, five meals a day with plenty of protein to build those muscles and carbs for some energy.
How structured are you with your diet and health/fitness plan?
During the season a good routine is very important to me. Most days I’ll eat the same breakfast and lunch, and have a few varying things to snack on during the day, then dinner is always a good hearty, student meal to keep our bellies full. I’m quite fortunate to have flatmates who value wholesome and nutritious foods too, so we eat pretty well for students.
What are the most important things you do for fitness?
For me it’s keeping the aerobics base up. In my position I’m constantly running and if I lose my puff then I’m easy meat for the opposition. This comes with a good overall body strength also, and I enjoy working out in the gym.
How do you relax?
Relaxing is sitting down in my lounge and watching an episode of Geordie Shore or a good movie with my friends.
What is your favourite pamper treat?
Definitely a full on meal. Could be some butter chicken and naan, maybe some Hell’s Pizza or a Bacon Backfire from Burger Fuel.