Having been dropped from the Silver Ferns after harrowing losses at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, netball was the last thing Bailey felt like doing. But with the ANZ Premiership beginning soon after the Games, she didn’t have much time to dwell on it.
“I couldn’t leave the Mystics in the lurch. There wasn’t really the chance to just give up, even if I’d wanted to.” And since netball has occupied 90% of Bailey’s life for the past decade, she admits, “Stopping netball would have been scarier than carrying on.”
At the time, she was unsure quite what life after netball might look like. She’d completed a Bachelor of Health Science and a Diploma in Photography – with help from a Prime Minister’s Scholarship – and was interested in doing something creative, but without any long-term career plans, her future felt uncertain.
Convinced that she had a chance of getting back into the Silver Ferns, Bailey set about doing everything she could to reclaim her spot. She credits a number of people with having supported her during her darkest hour, in particular the HPSNZ mental skills team and Northern Mystics coach Helene Wilson. Bailey checks in regularly with her HPSNZ Athlete Life Advisor, Vicki Hudson, valuing the opportunity to talk to someone who will listen and help map out her options.
“Vicki often gets me thinking about things from another perspective,” she says, expressing her appreciation for the contacts and ideas she has gained from the Athlete Life programme.
Bailey was ecstatic to be named in the 2019 World Cup team. “Learning I was back in the Ferns was even more exciting than when I first got selected in 2012.”
More recently, on her victorious return from the World Cup, Bailey landed a job as a Sports Imagery Intern at SKY TV. Her part-time, flexible contract means that her netball commitments always come first. It’s all part of SKY’s recently announced move to help New Zealand’s top women athletes into careers, allowing them to work in a flexible way while they train and compete.
SKY’s sports relations manager Cathryn Oliver recently told the LockerRoom, “We’re looking at where we can offer suitable roles for current female athletes that will empower them,” adding, “We know that high performance athletes have a great ethos – they’re dedicated and they work hard, no matter what they do.”
The HPSNZ Athlete Life team are able to help connect athletes to the SKY TV initiative. Athletes interested in this opportunity should contact their Athlete Life Advisor.
Bailey is one of the first New Zealand athletes to benefit from SKY TV’s supportive approach. She now has a job she loves to complement her netball, and a pathway to an exciting career after sport. A few weeks into her new job, she says, “Going to work at SKY each day feels too good to be true.”
Bailey’s Athlete Life Advisor, Vicki Hudson, says her conversations with Bailey have always focused around what is ultimately best for her: her values, passions, motivators, strengths, and opportunities. “Bailey has always been open to exploring issues and has reached the place where she can be proud of what she has accomplished, and excited about her future in sport and life.”