I have made my best decisions in life when I have been at my lowest.

At the end of the 2012 netball season, I received the news I wasn’t required back at the Melbourne Vixens.

I was at my lowest. I was never the most gifted netballer, but I knew I had more to offer. I contacted other elite netball clubs across Australia & New Zealand but all their lists were full.

Something I wanted so desperately, was out of my control. That’s the nature of elite sport. It’s cut throat.

My first response was; I need to prove them wrong. Which saw me work myself to exhaustion, where I developed mild Bell’s palsy and needed six weeks of bed rest to fully recover. All because I over trained, and over worked, doing what I thought I needed to do to “get back”.

That’s why I really dislike the quote “prove them wrong”, because the whole purpose is to achieve something for external reasons.

I needed to get back to basics and work out what really mattered to me, and develop a plan to do so.

I was used to setbacks in my netball carer; two ACL knee reconstructions, multiple years on the bench. This time I felt genuinely exhausted and done!

I moved home to Camperdown for eight months to re-group and get myself back on track.

I asked myself; what do I really want to contribute to the time I am on Earth? I had my teaching degree and a strong family foundation, however I still needed time to heal within.

I took total ownership and knew it was me who continued to set myself up for failure by putting myself out there. I took ownership of every decision I made. I believe that’s the best start to any change.

I am so very grateful for those years even though every knockback hurt. I wouldn’t take one thing back. It is what made me who I am today and I would rather hit the deck one thousand times, than have any regrets.

What I learnt in this time was to truly be me and how powerful a positive mind is.

It’s now my message daily to the girls I work with. Find a positive in every day. Work out your strengths, what you are good at, and then find your passion to bring these skills to life!

I pulled myself out of my own head and thought how grateful I was for my health. Now, how can I help others? And how am I of use?

I learnt how to balance risk better and listen to my body.

I worked out I was happy with who I was.

I was “out there”, a bit quirky and could be a bit too over enthusiastic sometimes. But it came from my heart. I quickly worked out my worth wasn’t based on “my ultimate WA game.”

I remember lying on the couch, back at Mum’s in Camperdown, thinking how do I get up again?

By going back to a place where I felt connected and supported was my key. Mum has always been my rock.

I knew it was only me, that could help myself. I had big dreams that seemed completely out of reach but I decided I was going to take one little step forward everyday.

I loved the feeling of being fit so my mission was to get physically strong again, my heart was healing and I was ready to bring this NETFIT idea to life.

I called NETFIT “my bubble of happiness.”

Sarah Wall exclusive insight

I clearly remember the first netball class I designed – I remember sketching the NETFIT logo; lying down on my bedroom floor in the early hours of the night, with copious amounts of paper scattered across my bed.

My intuition to nurture and educate gave me a real passion to create a program that saw more people getting active and having fun while working out.

I wanted them to know the messages that hard work pays off and a life of health and fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.

I simply wanted to create something in the space that didn’t strike to heart of competitiveness, because for me that wasn’t what made me enjoy the game of netball.

I didn’t want it named “Sarah Wall Fit” haha. I never wanted NETFIT to be about me. NETFIT is a community for everyone who lives by the values.

I wanted to build a community that promoted enjoyment, self acceptance, self control and hard workers.

My connection to grassroots netball has always been strong, and for a long time throughout my career I was constantly looking for opportunities where I could head back out to regional or remote towns, to spread the joy that I knew netball could bring to their communities.

As a bench player for the majority of my time at the Vixens, I should have really been on the Vixens membership marketing team as I always had flyers in my bag ready to give out to our supporters to get them to our games. I just loved celebrating our sport.

I have always had the drive to start somewhere. I had limited cash in my bank account because money had never served me.

The truth is, you really don’t need much money to create and build your passion. You just need, self belief, time and work ethic.

I also believe you need one or two good people backing you. I have had a loyal friend and work mate, Claire Oliver, who has been with me from my very first class and is still with me to this day. They don’t come much stronger and loyal than Claire!

I used my old computer speakers in our first NETFIT class. I remember wrapping fairly lights up the goal post to “spark up the court” (laugh!). Oh how far we have come.

Again, for me, the whole reason why I was delivering NETFIT was simply for the love of netball, and to create something different in this space.

And that is when it hit me.

I could design a netball gym class, just like your everyday “body pump” or “spin class” session but make the exercises netball-specific!

I realised nothing like that existed in Australia or internationally.

And wowzas, did the netball community support us. That’s what I love about our grassroots netballers. Full of passion, care and knowledge.

Social media really threw it’s support behind NETFIT, and our NETFIT community started to grow.

I would get this incredible buzz after a class being like… “OMG did you see those young girls smiling, sweating and not stopping for the full 45minutes.”

As it organically grew, I become aware that if I wanted to be able to build a successful netball program, then I needed to create a business plan to ensure the program’s survivability.

During that year 2013 I found my purpose, developed radical open-mindedness, wrote a plan, and I haven’t looked back since.

I discoverd what happiness really was. That became my new motivator. I was flying around the country, doing what I loved… working in netball. Having fun and setting up something I believed in so much. I was spending more time with my family, I was still attending elite netball games and felt so proud and grateful that I had played at this level.

We started to gain massive momentum.

Then you wouldn’t believe it…  I was asked to play for NSW Swift for the 2014 season.

That’s where I met Kim Green. The ultimate leader and team mate. Kim brought a whole new level to NETFIT. She believed in not just me, but the idea and vision of what she wanted to create in the NETFIT brand.

Together we were united on and off the court. We created NETFIT Tours together which has been one of my favorite programs so far.

After the 2014 season with the Swifts, I knew that I was ready to end the pursuit to elite netball.

I decided not to put my name forward to play the following season in the ANZ Championships, and I had no intention whatsoever of coming back to the main stage.

I didn’t have a cent to my name and I was living from class to class.

I was very satisfied with what I had achieved in all my years in the sport. I loved the game and I was ready to let go of elite netball, and move on to the next phase of my life.

In my eyes, NETFIT was becoming my new home of netball. My happy place.

Then, the unthinkable and most unexpected thing happened. I was at relaxing home on the coach, when I received a call from Julie Fitzgerald, the coach of the Giants Netball in the new-look Super Netball competition.

Kimmy had sustained an injury, and Julie said they were on the search for an injury replacement. She asked if I would come down and do a training session in front of the coaching staff.

It was so out of the blue; I didn’t quite know what to expect! I told Julie, as appreciative as I was for the call, I hadn’t played a game in two and a half years. The last thing I wanted to do was disappoint anyone.

All this time, while I was away from the game, I never once muttered the word “retirement”. I had stayed super fit from running NETFIT, and was addicted to the feeling of being strong. Just like I felt when I was playing professionally.

But how could I knock back this opportunity to be coached by Julie? Or at least explore what could be.

So I agreed to fly up to Sydney the next day, and do a training for the club. Kimmy, by my side as always.

As it would go, I played that weekend and didn’t stop pinching myself while I wore the GIANTS uniform for the remainder of the season.  Who would have thought, two-and-a-half years ago, I would be out on court Super Netball, Grand Final Day. Not me.

I was so grateful to be back in the fold and see the professionalism of elite netball grow.

But while all this was happening, I couldn’t afford NETFIT to take a backwards step. We had worked too hard to get NETFIT to it’s current point.

Thankfully, I had Claire working full-time & managing the day to day operations. The movement became bigger than our NETFIT grassroots programs and we needed to move it online.

We had overseas netballers requesting classes and wanting to grow NETFIT for us in their countries.

Today, we have a growing community of online members from over 20 different counties. Doing our MY NETFIT workouts and using our coaching content.

Now we can say after every class, “jump online to NETFIT. There is no reason why you girls can’t continue to build on what we have taught you today!”

I never believed that something I created in my bedroom, could grow like it has.

Isn’t that the secret, baby steps, doing what you love, being consistent and never giving up on your passion.

NETFIT isn’t about one individual or telling everyone how wonderful Sarah Wall, Kim Green or other elite netballers are for that matter. It’s about sharing our stories, loving our game, creating opportunities for our next generation and building a connected community based on the game we love.

While I am still learning as an up-and-comer in this interesting corporate world, my approach to business won’t change anytime soon.

It has, and always will be, for netballers of all ages and my love of the game.

Next time you feel like you can’t get up or want to “prove someone wrong”, have a good look in the mirror at what powers you have inside and who you want to celebrate life with.

For me, I know I will always have my NETFIT community, and that’s enough for me.