Chrystal Matthan is the 24 year old netball player from Perth who was recently selected for the Scottish Thistles Long Squad, playing Goal Defence and Wing Defence positions. The Scottish Thistles are the senior representative netball team for Scotland, and are currently ranked 8th in the INF World Rankings, out of 40 internationally ranked countries.
Introduced to the sport by accident at the age of ten, she has played continuously ever since, making her first appearance on a national squad at only 16 years old.
“I was very sporty in primary school but mainly played football. I had never really taken any interest in netball until primary 5 when I was asked to play in a match to cover an injury. I often wonder if I would have ever discovered my sport if I hadn’t been asked that day!
if anyone reading this is thinking about joining a netball team for the first time, my advice would be to try out every position and have fun!I’ve always been fortunate to have had amazing coaches that have believed I had the talent to play at national level. I was put forward for my first national trial at 15 and was selected into Scotland’s U17s netball long squad. I didn’t make the final squad that year, so I trialled again the following year and made it through, competing in Netball Europe 2010/11.”
Like all performance level athletes Chrystal has an intensive training regime that includes weekly games with her fellow squad members and additional training camp weekends. Since joining the Scottish Thistles, she has also been selected as a member of Live Active Leisure’s Talented Athlete Scheme as well as their Performance Squad.
“My main focus this year is to develop as a netball athlete and to compete within the Scottish Thistle Squad against other teams. Training is crucial and I’m currently training for games and competitions later in the year. As well as travelling to Glasgow weekly to train at Emirates, I also play for Cherrybank ladies netball team and we train together every Monday.
“My fitness focus at the moment is to improve my power, endurance and agility and I’m doing this supervised strength and conditioning sessions on a Monday and Wednesday with Gil Stevenson at Bell’s Sports Centre. Having access to two S&C training sessions a week with a highly experienced coach has been amazing - I feel that my performance is improving each week and I am enjoying the learning experience.“
''Looking back at when I first started the S&C programme I thought there was no way I would manage to do a clean or snatch and the thought of doing those lifts gave me the fear. Before I even got to the session I dreaded trying to even attempt them and over thought each movement and my self-doubt was sky high. By taking on Gil and assistant coach Sam's feedback, I can now confidently say these lifts don't scare me anymore and I now enjoy them. I often wonder if I would have ever discovered my sport if I hadn’t been asked that day!
“I have just completed week 4 of 6 on my strength and conditioning programme set by Gil and have noticed a huge improvement in both my technique on each exercise and performance on court. I have noticed an improvement in the power when I am jumping, stability when I am landing and my acceleration on court.
“Gil, Sam and the rest of the athletes in the programme have been really welcoming and I have fitted into the programme well. Stevie (Sport Officer) got me up and running into the programme very quickly and has also been a big support. I'm grateful to be given the opportunity to be in this programme and excited to see more improvements each week.''
''I would encourage athletes to get involved in s&c training as it will improve performance and reduces risks of injury. It’s not scary and it’s not all about building massive muscles. And if anyone reading this is thinking about joining a netball team for the first time, my advice would be to try out every position and have fun!”
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