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Sit Down with Scottish Thistles Hopeful Kelly Boyle

19th December 2017

Earlier this month, we jumped at the chance to have a sit down with emerging Scottish Thistles talent, Kelly Boyle.  Kelly’s rise to the Thistles has been a speedy experience, following her outstanding performance as part of Scotland’s Netball World Youth Cup journey last summer.

A full-time student AND full-time athlete, at just 21 years of age, Kelly has high hopes for her netball career and is a fantastic role model for our #FutureThistles out there who have apprehensions about being able to juggle the demands of International netball and further education/career.

Kelly, tell us about your netball journey so far.

I first fell in love with the game at the age of 11.  You could say I was a late bloomer in the sport (fun fact: badminton was the first sport I played before netball took over).  From there, I worked my way through the pathways overcoming tough hurdles and challenges along the way.  I played at District level, was part of Development Academy structure, then managed to secure a spot in the Under 19 Scotland squad.  Since then, I have been working on progressing through the age group levels and into the Scottish Thistles, which is where I am today.  

You are a full-time Sports Coaching student at UWS, how do you balance your current training load with the demands of further education?

Being a full time 4th student at UWS can be challenging in itself.  Trying to balance my University workload with training, can definitely be tricky at times.  It’s key to be organised and plan ahead of time so I can try to get everything done by the deadlines.  Not everything goes to plan, but it sure makes a difference.  In particular when it comes to exam time, trying to fit in time to study, enough time to travel and, of course, time to fit in a cheeky nap.  With the support of my lecturers and advisors, I make it work – at the end of the day you just have to get on with it if you want to be successful both on and off the court.  It is totally possible, just takes some structure.

You made a big impact for Scotland during the Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana, so much so, you are now making a name for yourself on the International stage with the Scottish Thistles.  You have had a taste of Netball Europe at Open level now, the Netball World Cup Qualifiers are fast approaching, and then of course, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are just around the corner.  Do you have your eyes on one of those 12 Thistles dresses?

Netball has given me so many amazing opportunities, such as competing in Botswana, and to have been a part of the Scottish Thistles Netball Europe campaign a few months back, and taking to court against a very physical Samoan side earlier this month, was such an honour. This is a big year for the Thistles, which is very exciting, but at the moment, the focus is hopefully making that World Cup Qualifiers team.  Then I can look ahead to the Games.

You were recently announced as part of the 2018 UWS Sirens line up.  How do you expect this to differ from your International experience so far, and what does it mean to you to be included in this top-class line-up?

It’s an amazing opportunity to be part of the UWS Sirens for season 2018.  Playing with the UWS Sirens gives me the chance to learn different styles of play from our imported athletes, as well as learn from a new Head Coach.  For me, it’s about taking in as much as possible so that I can become the best athlete I can be. 

Do you have a netball aspiration/career goal?

One goal that I have achieved was to represent Scotland at a World Youth Cup, which was amazing. Now that I have checked that off the bucket list, at some point in my netball career I do hope to represent Scotland at a Commonwealth Games. 

For all those budding mid-court players, what would you say is the most important skill to have master from an early age do you have a favourite drill to work this skill?

As a mid-court player, a key skill to have in your tool box from a early age, would have to be the ability to change direction quickly and effectively.  Something as simple as practising fast feet from a young age will make a big difference, as agility is key.

Thank you Kelly!  We are so excited by the up and coming talent we have emerging from our age group National squads, and to see a player like yourself come through the full pathway is truly inspiring for all those #FutureThistlesout there.   We wish you the very best with your training over the next few weeks and looking ahead to 2018’s major events, we hope to see you on court.

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