Mental toughness sets Caitlin Bassett apart
Australian Diamonds shooter Caitlin Bassett believes mental conditioning is just as important as physical, so seeing a sport psychologist is just plain smart.
With a Commonwealth Games gold and two netball world cup medals to her name as well as winning this year’s inaugural Super Netball championship, Bassett believes that mental training is as important as physical practice.
“Seeing a sport psychologist is still a bit taboo but I think that it is smart,” Bassett told GC2018.
“People tend to think it sends a message of weakness if you are getting help for something, but I think its training.
“Is it a weakness to go to the gym? No. Then why is it a weakness to see someone about talking about mental toughness.
“We spend so much time training our bodies and spending time on court, running through plays and player analysis. But we don’t spend much time training our mind.”
The GC2018 Netball Ambassador has ensured that a sport psychologist appointment is squeezed into her chaotic training schedule for the last five years, which consists of a number of court time and gym sessions as well as game analysis and team meetings.
“I’ve seen massive improvements in my mental resilience, my toughness, my focus and concentration, which are all really important things for a goal shooter,” Bassett said.
“I see it as part of my job now, along with going to the gym, doing weights and court work.
“Part of my job is that I’m mentally tough, because when the chips are down I want to make sure I’ve done all the one percenters.
“I think I’d be letting myself down if I wasn’t looking after that area of things.”
As a tall and lanky pre-teen, Bassett lacked confidence amongst her peers but that all changed when she took up netball.
Picking up a netball as an 11-year-old, Bassett found her local netball club, the Illawarra Sparks, to be the support she had been lacking at school.
“I was really different to everyone else growing up, at a time when you just want to fit in when you’re starting in your teens, I did struggle with self-image and self-confidence,” Bassett said.
“The netball court was the one place that I felt at home, comfortable and confident and people wanted me on their team because being tall was an advantage.
“I loved the social side of things and the friendships I built with my teammates, that is why I loved netball so much when I started. It wasn’t because I was good at it, it was more because I had friends and we shared a common love for the sport.”
The comradery within the sport is what has kept the 2015 Liz Ellis Diamond winner on the court for over 15 years, but her stubbornness for perfection is what has made her a champion goal shooter.
The 73 test veteran was nominated as the 24th Diamonds captain earlier this year, voted by the players to spearhead the team through this year’s Quad Series, Constellation Cup and January’s Quad Series in South Africa and England.
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To be successful you must surround yourself with the best. A huge congrats to @gabsimpson @madirobinson_ & @sharni_layton who will be by my side to lead the Samsung Diamonds. Humble & hardworking they are amazing role models & I cant wait to start the journey together! Bring on the Quad Series 💎 #leadershipgroup #quadseries #diamonds