Tayla on a mission to improve her game

Tayla Ward

Diamonds are a girl's best friend: IAS netball scholarship holder Tayla Ward (pictured) has been inspired by Australian player Caitlin Thwaites. Picture: Adam McLean

Diamonds are a girl's best friend: IAS netball scholarship holder Tayla Ward (pictured) has been inspired by Australian player Caitlin Thwaites. Picture: Adam McLean

Netballer

Why did you apply for an IAS scholarship? I wanted to learn new things and develop my netball. I wanted to immerse myself with new coaches and players who shared a mutual love for the game and could teach me different skills and tactics. I wanted to improve my game and challenge myself beyond club level as well as learn about proper nutrition and more effective exercise techniques. 

Who’s your favourite professional athlete? My favourite professional athlete is Caitlin Thwaites because of her passion, dedication, resilience and perseverance. Thwaites has been an Australian Diamonds player since 2012 and I have always loved her. She has experienced many knock backs and hardships during her netball journey yet she has never given up on her dream. She has always lived in the shadow of tall shooter Caitlin Bassett but she never lets that deter her from taking the court and giving her all. 

If you weren’t playing this sport what would you be doing? I would probably be pursuing my singing and piano. I love how music provides me with an escape from stress and anxiety. It allows me to express myself in a new and creative way as well as make others happy. 

How would you describe yourself in one sentence? I would describe myself as a passionate, resilient young person who is very active and who always gives 100 per cent in everything.

What are your plans beyond school? My plans are to go to university and study either criminology or forensic science. I love the suspense, mystery and challenge of science and forensics. I also find criminal law extremely interesting and would love to pursue a job in that fie

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I wouldn't want to live anywhere else besides right here in Australia. I love the beautiful, sunny weather and the pristine beaches as well as the freedom we enjoy. I love how we can get up in the morning and not have to worry about war and conflict.

What do you do in your free time? In my free time I like to stay active and hang with my friends and family. I love playing the piano and listening to loud music. I also like to relax whilst reading a book or watching TV.

What is your favourite subject at school? My favourite subject at school is maths.

What is your greatest achievement in your sport so far? My greatest achievement in my netball career to date is being awarded this scholarship with the IAS as well as playing representative netball with Illawarra. Another achievement which I am very proud of was being able to lead my team, as captain, into the A1 intermediate grand final earlier this year.

When did you start playing your sport and how did you get started? I started playing netball at age 9 in the 10C's for Wests Netball Club. I got into it through a friend who suggested I come along and play with her as they needed more players. As soon as I took the court I fell in love with the sport and since then I have never looked back.