Rising star Gretel Tippett has been literally putting in the hard yards to build up her fitness base ahead of Australia’s campaign at next month’s Fast5 Netball World Series.
The 20-year-old put herself through a series of tough training sessions while on a recent eight-day family holiday in Bali alongside her high-profile brothers Kurt and Joel and partner Tom Nicholls – all AFL footballers.
Tippett said she joined the trio’s running workouts under the hot Bali sun in the middle of the day, but knows that’s the type of dedication needed to become an elite netballer.
The former top-level basketballer, who represented Australia at three underage World Championships, is part of the Australian Fast5 Flyers squad heading to Auckland next week for the next edition of the Netball World Series.
Tippett is excited to be given the opportunity to play alongside some top players in Susan Pratley, Demelza McCloud and Tegan Caldwell.
“I’m so excited and really looking forward to it,” Tippett said. “Hopefully I can transfer a few (basketball skills) over.
“I’m really excited to play with Susan and Carla (Dziwoki) and Ash Brazill and Demelza and with the girls from the (Australian) 21/U side like Paige (Hadley).”
Tippett said the Fast5 format is very similar to basketball with different scoring zones designed to encourage long-range shots being put up.
“There’s more skills similar to basketball,” she said.
“You can shoot from anywhere outside (the goal circle) and there’s only five (players) on court so it’s going to be more spacious. The game will be very quick as well, so I know that I’ve got to get my fitness up.”
While she might be a relative newcomer to the game, Tippett has shown a lot of promise while being fast tracked through Australia’s pathway programs.
She represented Australia’s 21/U side at August’s World Youth Netball Championships and shot 112 goals in seven matches during the tournament at 84 per cent accuracy.
In the Final against New Zealand, Tippett came off the bench in the final term and showed she could handle the intensity of the situation, shooting seven goals without a miss.
“I was so thankful for the opportunity to get out and experience playing in the Final and I just wanted to do everything I could to get us over the line,” Tippett said.
“I was like an Energizer bunny but it was a great experience and definitely one to put in the back of my mind the next time I get out there and play the New Zealand girls.”
Tippett has signed to play in the ANZ Championships next year with the NSW Swifts after being called up twice by the Queensland Firebirds during the 2013 season as a replacement player.
She’s come a long way since deciding to switch from basketball to netball in 2012.
“I’m very hard on myself and when I made the transition and played my first game, I was a bit doubtful,” Tippett admits.
“But I really enjoy the game and I want to get best out of myself by training hard. I’ve been given such amazing opportunities by my coaches in such a short space of time.
“I’ll just keep plodding away, training and try and learn as much as I can. I look forward to getting down to the Swifts and learning from the players and coaching staff. I’ll be like a sponge and soak it all up.”
“I’m very thankful to the Firebirds for giving me an opportunity and it’s made me keen to get a go.”