In the latest instalment of a five-part series, netball great Anna Harrison talks about her comeback to the sport and preparing for retirement.

On choosing netball:

"I'm a very competitive person, I really enjoyed netball and I wanted to be the best I can. I do remember thinking I am going to be a Silver Fern one day. I chipped away at it and amazingly I eventually got there."

"The great thing about netball is learning to play with different people. It's a team sport and you can't win it on your own, no matter how much of a winning shot is remembered, it takes a team effort. Playing in different combinations and bringing those players, in that time together, you never have the perfect game but always striving for it."

On beach volleyball:

"Beach volleyball became a part of my summer for many years. It was always something I thought I would switch to but ultimately it wasn't in my control. 2007 was a Netball World Cup year and I had every intention of going hard for that but then I got dropped. I didn't get to play in the world champs but I thought I will play on the world circuit with goal of going to the Olympics."


On bikinis and beach volleyball:

"I understand it's part of the popularity of sport but then again its such a skilful game it will never sit well with me that its marketed because of women running around in bikinis."

"My worst experience I had was in India, the crowd was 90% men and when we took our tops off to warm up there was jeering and whistling and I have never been so close to yelling at a crowd, worst feeling I've ever had."

On returning to netball:

"I had no intention of coming back. My plan was to go to the 2012 Olympics, then start a family and I'll be done. I was thinking this is it, the end of netball, I've been dropped and this is how it will be. But as it turned out it wasn't."

On overcoming difficult times:

"I'm very hard on myself so there's lot of situations in the Silver Ferns when you've been on the bench or taken off that you have self doubt. It's how you take those whether you pull the pin or rise to occasion and prove someone wrong

"I'm very determined, if I set my mind to something then I just want to be better. There have been two points in my life where I had to take a leap of faith going to step out of my comfort zone but the rewards are totally worth it."

On netball and motherhood:

"To be here right now, to have my family but also to be able to play netball, I am ridiculously grateful. One of my proudest moments has been coming back from kids. I'm playing some of the best netball I've played."

"The girls in the team now they talk about going home and sleeping after training and I remember those days instead of coming home being a mum and having to make meals."

"There's lot of mums who do full time jobs and are mums when they get home, but my job means I'm physically tired so if I don't get that sleep the next day is rubbish. It is hard and at times I feel can't give it what used to give it."

On preparing for retirement:

"I'm totally aware it could all be drawing to an end and it does make you savour the moments more."

"Sport has definitely shaped me, but it's not me. I realise now I'm not just a netballer which is an interesting situation for athletes to realise. As athletes get to the end of their career they realise they don't want to be defined as your sport. It is daunting but I'm quite comfortable, I have lots of things to go to after netball."