Netball Captains. Schools That Rock kicked off with a new sport series. The captains from our schools’ first netball teams tell us more about their captaincy. Our fourth goal scored in this netball captains series is by Taygan Mazzoni, 1st netball team captain of Curro Salt Rock in Ballito, Kwazulu Natal.
“I started playing netball for Umhlali Preparatory School in grade 1. I could be having a bad day, but as soon as I step on the court my whole attitude and emotions change and I immediately smile because it’s just something I enjoy, as I prefer team sports over individual sports.
The position I play is mainly GS, GA and GD but I don’t mind playing all positions as I enjoy being moved around as it can only grow you as a netball player.
The first time I was appointed as netball captain, was in 2020 when I was chosen captain of the KZN u16 netball open side.
My training includes the following: I play for a netball team called HOPE on a Monday night. On a Tuesday and Thursday I have first team training at school. Wednesdays I play for Just Skills Ethekwini league and Friday’s I have first team netball games. On Saturdays I have super league matches in Richards Bay and on Sunday’s I go to KZN training. I try to go to the gym when a training is cancelled or postponed and sometimes on Monday’s and Wednesdays I go to school swimming training to keep extra fit.
Most stressful game
The most stressful game for me was definitely in 2020 when I was playing for the KZN Sharks team. We were on tour playing Gauteng which is our biggest threat because they are the strongest provincial team. We had all ages of KZN players supporting and cheering our team. To make the finals, we needed to win this game. It was extremely stressful, but fun at the same time because the support made us work harder and to what we were capable of. The score was very close but we ended up beating Gauteng, making the finals which was the happiest win of my netball career.
My most exciting game was in 2021 when I was playing for the Ethekwini league. We were playing for money which made it stressful but rewarding at the same time. The whole game was exciting because the score was so close, which made us work better as a team and we ended up winning by 17 points!
My worst netball experience was in 2018 when I started playing for KZN. I couldn’t handle the pressure, so I walked off the court. I don’t regret doing that because it taught me a life long lesson. That is to never give up and to never allow other players to get in your head and distract you from your own game.
I do have goals that I would like to accomplish. One of my goals, since 2017, when I realized that netball is where I want to go in life, was to one day play for the Proteas. I have always wanted to represent my country. My goal in the next 3 years is to play for the Proteas in the World Cup and come home with the winning trophy. Furthermore I want to play for Stellenbosh University and I plan to trial for the over 35s KZN netball side in the future.
My top 5 priorities is to manage my time well because of my busy schedule. Always make time for my family and friends. Maintain a healthy diet and have time for myself to do other things that I enjoy such as meditating. Another priority of mine is to always be a help to someone in need on the court and be able to give them advise whether it be a personal issue or something on the court that they are wanting to strengthen. I do want to play professional netball. My goal in the next three years is to play shooter for the Proteas Netball side and to graduate as a Biokineticist to help people with sport or other injuries.
The strengths I have that make me a great netball player? I am definitely not a selfish player and I feel that my strength and positivism on court encourages and inspires the rest of the team. It reminds them that we are playing as a team and not individually. Another strength that I have is that I enforce my positive vibes onto the other players to encourage them.
I motivate my team by reminding them that, no matter the score or team you are playing, you must always have fun during the match. When you are having fun you are winning and that’s a win of its own.
I look up to The Protea netball player, Lenize Potgieter, because she plays my favorite positions which is GA and GS. She is also my favourite player because she plays for the Proteas and is always smiling on court which reminds me of myself. She hasn’t had an easy life and has gone through many battles, but doesn’t ever use that as an excuse not to shine and she always gives 110% on court.
I believe that the greatest challenge faced by today’s sport participants is commitment. Many people these days prioritize things they prefer over the most important things such as training. That is an issue when you are a sportsman or sportswomen.
I manage my netball responsibilities and other recreational and non-recreational (academic) activities by making sure that, if I get any spare time in class, I can do homework so that I have less work to do after school. I also make sure to do all homework after school because most netball days I start later in the afternoon. If I have netball straight after school, I make sure to do academic related work when I return home.
What I have learned from teamwork is that without team work there is no team. Team work is the most important aspect in netball. When you play as a team you win as a team and when you play as an individual you loose as an individual.
My biggest achievement in playing netball is playing for Just Skills Netball club. We play in a high league division and are hoping to compete in Dubai at the end of the year.
Implemented any game plans or other suggestions that helped my team succeed? Yes, I verbally help when I see a player looking down on court. I constantly remind them in a game of how we play and remind them to keep there heads up and to focus. I make sure that I am always positive on the court and that I cheer on their achievements on court. It benefits them and all I do verbally on the court motivates them and helps them shine. Seeing my team win with smiles on their face or even losing but knowing we all did the best to our ability, is what makes me a proud captain.
When I see a team mate struggling with learning a new move or play, I would see if I am able to do the move or if I know how to do it and I would try to demonstrate to them physically how it’s done. If they still don’t grasp the concept I would then ask my coach to guide me and the player in need. I would also positively motivate them while they are learning, to help them commit to learning the move they are battling with. The best advice I received from my coaches is when I’m getting shouted at on the court. When a coach shouts on the sideline for me to move or jump higher it motivates me to do so. It doesn’t work for all players, but this is the best advice that I learn from.
A skilled coach for me, is not only a coach that can coach with their mouth but one that can demonstrate or play netball how they coach. I feel like a coach should have the verbal and physical skills and that’s what makes them the best coach.
My coach and fellow team mates as super chilled person because I am really chilled and don’t get upset easily. I have an extremely strong personality and I am very outgoing and love meeting new people and being around with my friends and family.
I would love to have coffee with Lenize Potgieter because I would love to seek advice from her on how to move in the circle like she does. When I watch her play on television, I am always inspired to play like her.
What excites me most, is music. It always uplifts my mood and hypes me up for anything. I listen to music every night while I am sleeping and in every opportunity I have in life. I love to make beats and DJ music. This always excites me.
My hobbies? I love to paint in my free time and I enjoy surfing in Durban.
My greatest highlight the past five years would be my 2021 Pretoria Netball tour. This tour taught me so much and I had such a fun time and made many new friends.
Describe myself in one word – Positive.
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