England netball star Sasha Corbin is quite a woman. She’s determined to put England on the map as the number one netball side in the world, whilst holding down a full time job and inspiring other women to take up the game via the ‘Back to Netball’ campaign. With the three match series against intense rivals Jamaica fast approaching, Sportsister caught up with the 24-year-old to talk all things netball, sibling rivalry, time management, hip-hop and backflips.
The series against Jamaica starts at the weekend (21st september), how are your preparations going?
It’s gone really well, for the last 11 weeks we’ve been training really hard as a team and doing our individual work too. We’ve had a really strong programme where we’ve been working so hard to get ready for this test series. I think we’re pretty confident and really excited to put back on the red dress, it’s been a very long time. I can’t wait!
There’s a healthy rivalry between yourselves and Jamaica, what are you expectations for the series?
Jamaica are number 3 in the world at the moment, they’ve played a few games and have overtaken us in the rankings. We definitely want to play well, be best team, win and take back that third position. It’s going to be a great show. The rivalry we have and the intensity of the matches is going to be crazy. Any spectators who are coming, let me tell you, its going to be so good.
Are you looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd?
I’m 100% ready for that home crowd. Ready for that cheer and ready for everyone to be behind England. Were so excited and when we have that kind of support it’s something that really spurs us on.
Will you treat the crowd to your trademark back-flip celebration if you win?
Kadeen (Sasha’s sister) and I have decided only to do the back flip at at a major occasion, it’s got to be the commonweath champs, world champs or world netball series, then we’ll do the backflip!
Your sister Kadeen is also in the squad for the series, what’s it like being on court with your sister?
It’s really nice to have Kadeen alongside me, it’s nice to have that family feel in the camp. Because she’s younger than me she’ll come up to me and ask for advice. Because she’s my sister I reckon I’m tougher on her, I get told sometimes that I’m being too hard on her and I’m like ‘really?’ I do genuinely enjoy it though, it’ a pretty rare thing to happen to have two sisters playing for England.
It must be some sort of record! Is there any rivalry between the two of you?
It’s all good-natured because we don’t play the same position. If we were the same position then that would be crazy but because she’s a shooter and I’m in the mid-court it makes life so much easier so we can actually play with each other.
To play C/WA like you do you must be incredibly fit, how much training do you put in a week?
The last 11 weeks have been so intense. Because we work as well as play netball it’s a case of fitting the sessions in. We tend to have two England sessions a week; two strength and conditioning sessions and week; then we have five ball work sessions and finally speed and endurance. So there’s a lot to squeeze in! There’s also a lot of travelling involved as England training is generally in Bath, Loughborough or Manchester so we have to travel there.
You juggle a full-time job with training, how do you manage fit it all in?
I’m not going to lie, organisation is absolutely key to my life. I’m lucky because coaches and work communicate well and are really understating so I never have any conflict. Most netball players tend to do sessions in the morning, so I’ll get up around 5.45am get to training for 7 and train until 9. After I’ll go through my recovery, get back home, have breakfast and head off to work or the next session. Then I’ll do another training session in the evening whenever work is finished, then cool down and recover.
How about your diet, do you have to be strict with what you eat?
We have to be quite strict with what we eat, although we burn off a lot we need to stay on top of things. So in the morning you want something that’s easy to digest that’s full of carbs and protein before training. Then after training as it’s so intense and I sweat so much I need something to help me recover so I have a strawberry Maxitone shake which is so tasty.
What are your tips for good post-match recovery?
Protein shakes are my favourite thing to have post-match or post training, you don’t feel hungry when you’ve finished but you need to feel like you’re restored some energy so I’ll have a Maxitone and I’m good to go again.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is just to never give up. It sounds simple but it’s so true. When I ruptured my Achilles tendon it was so hard. You feel like the world has caved in and you’ll never play again but you just have to keep going. If you believe it and work hard enough then you’ll get there.
What other sports are you interested in aside from netball?
I love athletics, I watched so much at the Olympics and also the gymnastics is amazing. Years ago I did pre-season training with a circus which was cool.
What would you have done had you not been a netballer?
I would have been an athlete. I loved the heptathlon when I was younger, I only stopped when I got picked up by the England Netball system, they wanted to take me to South Africa and I couldn’t refuse!
What are your netballing ambitions for the future?
To be a Commonwealth and World champion. I just want to be a champion, the girls just want to be champions and be the best. We want to put England netball on the map right there as number one.
What songs are on your iPod before a big match?
I love hip-hop, so Nicki Minaj, Drake, anything I can have a dance too, that’s going to get me pumped and ready to go.
Finally, when you do get time away from the court how do you like to relax?
To be honest I’m normally so tired I’ll just sleep! But when I’m not sleeping I love to go out for dinner or to the cinema with my friends, I try and go most weeks, even if I’ve had training. It’s important to relax too!
Beth Shine, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Sasha uses Maxitone high protein bars and shakes to help her exercise and aid recovery post training. For more advice on Maxitones product range and nutritional advice for active women go to: www.maxitone.com/netball.