As part of Holmesglen St Kilda FC Sport and Events program 2021, Holmesglen students had the great opportunity recently to hear from Olympian and Opals Star Natalie Porter.
As part of the Learning from the Best in Sport seminar series, Natalie shared with students her learnings on:
- Finding your path in a male dominated industry-working with coaches, trainers, male players in the same sport.
- Strategies to deal with gender equality in a male dominated industry-working with coaches, trainers, administration, support staff and players.
- Standing tall in a challenging sports environment
- strategies coping with adversity
- Ethical behaviour and drugs in sport.
Natalie also provided her thoughts on the following questions;
Q: As part of the Diploma of Sport, many of our students here today are learning how to apply sports psychology principles. As a female athlete what principles of sport psychology have set you up for success?
NP: The power of the mind is HUGE and certainly, elite athletes that are able to be supreme physically and mentally are worlds apart from those who are just naturally gifted.
I really wish sports psychology had been introduced earlier in my career (ie as a teenager). I struggled with mental toughness throughout the earlier years of my career, and it really was only as I started to mature as an adult that I could look at mindset in a practical sense.
Some principles that I still incorporate in my day-to-day now are:
- Positive self-talk
- Strong mindset – don’t sweat the small stuff.
Q: What advice would you give to leaders in sport to foster increased female participation?
NP: Take away the barriers – do not frame it with a ‘male’ lens.
And get buy-in from the parents: empower them with knowledge about health and wellbeing so they can support from within.
Q: How important to girls continuing in sport is it for teachers, coaches and peers to work to foster commitment and motivation? Did this play a big role in your sporting career? And how?
NP: If we are looking at sport and health from a participation perspective, it is more about enjoyment, socialising and feeling good about yourself.
For a young girl striving for the top, then commitment and motivation are extremely important, coupled with support along the way.
I was internally driven to succeed – I always had big goals so I really didn’t need a coach to motivate me or make me commit along the way.
I really don’t think elite athletes need someone else to motivate them – they are self-motivated…what they do need is inspiration, vision, commitment from their leaders and team mates!
Q; Who were your female role models and why?
NP: You know, I didn’t have one female role model in particular. I had several.
My mum was my first – she was strong, compassionate, caring and a very hard worker.
I absolutely adored the Nunawading Spectres WNBL women’s team when I was a young baller: Michelle Timms, Shelly Gorman and Robyn Maher
Why? They played bloody tough, they supported each other, they were fierce and fit and they looked like they had so much fun playing together.
My current boss, Kristy Kendall, principal at Toorak College certainly inspires me. She did before I worked for her, and now I work with her, I absolutely thrive in the environment that she has created.
Oh, and single Mums – they are AMAZING! One of my best mates has three boys, all in primary school. She works full-time, studies part-time and is an absolutely fab person – that takes guts, courage, dedication and a serious amount of patience.
Pictured: Natalie Porter speaking with Holmesglen students
About Natalie Porter
Natalie Porter is an Australian basketball player who played for the Australian national team and is an Olympic medallist.
In 2000, Natalie was drafted by the USA Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and played for New York Liberty and in 2008 signed with the Italian team Levizzini Parma.
As a member of the Opals in the Australia Women's National Basketball team Natalie won a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
In Australia, Natalie has played for four top-level teams including the Dandenong Rangers, Townsville Fire, Sydney University Flames and Canberra Capitals and was awarded WNBL 2003 Best defensive player, 2008 Most valuable player, ABC player of the year 2007, 2008 and member of the Aust. All Star Five 2003-2008. In 2017 Natalie was an inducted into Basketball Victoria’s Wall of Fame.
Specialties: Relationship building, initiating projects, multi-tasking and time management. Motivating, inspiring and challenging. Strategic planning, implementation and accountability. Skill development, mental toughness and building futures. High performing teams.
Read more about our Diploma of Sport and Diploma of Event Management.