She is one of the most instantly recognisable female athletes in Britain today. Known for being a dynamic player, with speed and athleticism, and a keen eye for the intercept. Serena Guthrie chats to us about pressure, wellbeing and going all the way in this year's Vitality Super League.
How difficult have things been playing at two centralised locations (Wakefield and London) as well as having no fans to support you?
Yes it was really strange when we first started but we soon got used to it just being us and the other team. It poses a different challenge, you have to make your own vibe and create your own energy.
The team have shown a lot of resilience over the past few weeks, especially in some of the recent victories. Talent can get you so far, but is there anything the team does to work on resilience?
We have regular culture check in sessions and psychology sessions to make sure the team continues to grow and tackle any challenges we might be facing.
Speaking of resilience, you are working with Bath Mindfulness and Ed Jackson, bringing a resilience workshop to Bath for teens. Can you tell us a little more about the event?
Yes! So the event is going ahead on August 13th and it's a day where young people can come along and have a chance to get to know themselves on a deeper level with some great workshops and inspirational and motivational activations. Resilience is something that you must work constantly to build up. A bit like muscles when you go the gym mental resilience can be taught and made stronger too. We aim to help young people recognise their strengths and give them some great insights to build resilience.
You played International netball whilst a teenager yourself. Did you ever feel the pressure of performing at the top level at such a young age, and how did you manage your own/others expectations?
Of course pressure is always there. I love being in the space where I have to perform, it makes me feel alive. All the sink or swim moments. I learnt early on that to get anywhere in life you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. If I chose to play it safe I would only be limiting my potential and I was too competitive for that to ever be an option. I don't tend to bother myself with other people's expectations I only focus on the standards I set myself that's all I can control.
What are your earliest memories of playing netball?
Playing in Jersey the Channel Islands where I grew up are probably my earliest memories. I didn't get the rules and wasn't particularly good which is what sparked my determination to get better. Netball is a technical sport so it was a great challenge for me early on as a youngster to get all the rules and learn how to play the game.
Were there other sports you were good at, and how important has playing sport been shaping you as a person?
Like most sport people I played anything and everything. Netball was just 1 sport I played along with about 10 others! Sport has shaped my personality and helped me to know who I want to be and how I want to treat others.
What are the key lessons sport has taught you?
It’s not just about winning and losing it’s about who you are and the principles and morals and values you choose to carry with you. Sport has taught me that.
How disappointing was it to see Netball not included in the Olympics?
Personally I wasn't too disappointed. It’s not as easy as just having your sport in the Olympics. There's a lot of logistics and scheduling that also has to go on for it to work for different countries. The demands of netball are increasing year by year. Adding another big competition would be very exciting but at the same time that would put a lot of pressure on resource, broadcast deals, athletes etc. Personally I would like to see more professional leagues across the world giving more players opportunities before you see netball in the Olympics. We’re still striving to become professional, for me that's the ultimate goal.
Finally, how far can this team go this year and how much are you looking forward to seeing fans back in the arenas?
Can't wait to see the fans back, they're a huge part of our culture! We're putting in some big consistent performances this year so there's no reason why we can take the premiership!
Serena will be part of a 'Resilience Workshop' on August 13th, aimed at teens and created by Nicola MacDonald of Bath Mindfulness. For more on this event and how you can become a sponsor, click below....