21 year old, Leigh Kalsbeek has been making waves on the national netball stage. She has played for the Canberra Darters for three years and this year she was signed to the new Giants Netball squad for the 2017 season in the newly reformatted Suncorp Super Netball Competition. The Giants had an amazing season, narrowly missing out on the title.
I recently sat down with Leigh to ask her about her experiences.
Leigh Kalsbeek (@leighkalsbeek_ ) looking to complete a cheeky bounce pass around her opponent in game 1 for the Canberra Giants against the Southern Force in the Australian Netball League competition. #ANL #WeAreCBRGiants – – @womencanplay @netballaust @giantsnetball @netballact @netballnsw – – #netball #netballaus #netballact #netballnsw #womeninsport #womenCANplay #canberra #cbr #sport #australia
How did you get into Netball? What has your journey been so far?
I got into netball when I was 8 years old and started out with the Jerrabomberra Joey’s Netball Club, when my primary school entered a team into the Queanbeyan Netball Winter competition. From there I went on to play representative netball in Queanbeyan and Canberra.
I made my first ACT team when I was 14 years old and have played in the U15, U17, U19 and U21 national tournaments from 2010 – 2016. I was lucky enough to be selected into my first Canberra Darters team in 2013 and have been a squad member since.
How does playing for the Giants differ from playing for the Darters?
Playing for the Canberra Giants has given me new and exciting opportunities with doors opening up in all directions. I have been lucky enough to have played a training match with the Giants and also had a coaching session run by Kim Green, Jo Harten and Sam Poolman. Opportunities like these are rare even with the Canberra Darters but playing for the Canberra Giants has given me this exposure.
What does your day to day life entail as an athlete? Do you work/study as well?
My day to day life as an athlete changes but normally consists of doing weight training on Tuesday and Thursday morning, court sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday night with the odd extra session here and there. We travel as a team on Friday nights and play on Saturday night and Sunday morning. I work full time so juggling these trainings can be tricky.
Do you think the new Suncorp Super Netball format will improve the sport? And how?
Suncorp Super Netball will definitely improve the game which has already been seen over the past 4 weeks. Every game so far has been super close. The game is changing and the new SSN competition is allowing the players the opportunity to step up and play so great netball.
What is your opinion on women’s professional sport?
Women’s professional sport is amazing. It is so good to see that women’s sport is being recognised a whole lot more not only in the media but in the public domain. There are amazing professional women’s teams now getting the respect and recognition that they deserve. Some codes and teams are even doing better than the men’s which is great to see – they go through the same amount of training and if not more than the men, but most still have a full time job. It is great to see that slowly but surely this is changing.