Team Bath Netball’s Asha Francis has her eyes firmly on the prize at the start of the 2018 Vitality Netball Superleague.
The five-time champions have blended youth and experience in what they hope will be both a must-see mix and bring rewards.
While Francis admits pre-season has felt long, she believes the team have learnt a lot especially from their match play and challenging themselves against different opposition.
She said: “Our pre-season prep has been really good.
“I think it’s important sometimes for confidence that you feel in the games you’ve gone into that you are achieving the things that you’ve been asked to achieve.
“Obviously the wins on the end of that help because sometimes it’s hard to think that you’ve played really well but come off with a loss.
“I think that there is value in winning but I don’t think it’s important for us to have gone out and won absolutely everything because I think you can equally, as clichéd as it sounds, learn a lot from losing as well – how you deal with that, how you come back from that, the way that you handle yourself in that situation.
“We’ve had highs and we’ve had not so good bits, which I think is going to be all really valuable coming into the season because it’s not going to all go our way all the time.”
There was a wealth of off-season movement in the Superleague and Francis has drawn some parallels to the introduction of the three new franchises in 2017.
However, she believes that Team Bath simply need to be confident in their own ability to overcome anything unexpected.
She said: “Like last season when all the teams were new, you didn’t quite know who you were going to encounter.
“Even though they’re potentially a bit more settled, there still has been a fair amount of movement in terms of the teams.
“I think it’s still that challenge of being ok with not necessarily having enough knowledge and you would have in previous seasons but being really confident in what we can achieve as a team and how we can counteract any team, even if we feel like we may have gaps in our knowledge about them or don’t know quite how they’re going to function as a team because of the changes in personnel.”
Francis is excited about returning to the fold for 2018 and knows exactly what she wants to achieve on a personal level this season.
She said: “So personally, it’s my first season back after a few dipping in and out having had children so I want to be in the whole season.
“I just want to try and get back to the form that I was in before I went off and be a really important person within the team – whether that’s on the court or on the court, whatever’s asked of me – in helping us achieve our goal.”
As a team, they have their sights set on just one thing: a record sixth national title.
Francis said: “We’re eyeing up that trophy – it’s been a little while since it’s been in Bath and we’re missing it a little bit so we definitely want to be in that final on 7th July.”
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