Olivia Tchine might look like a fearless figure on the court, but she doesn’t feel like one.
The 21-year-old New Cross star is part of the history-making London Pulse squad that qualified for the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague playoffs for the first time in the club’s short history.
The youngster is a picture of serenity in front of goal but admits there is more going on underneath than meets the eye.
She said: “Obviously this season has been quite challenging for me. Being starting shooter has been very scary and I didn’t know it was going to be this scary!
“Apparently I don’t show it on court but I’m honestly nervous.
Tchine ended the season with 732 goals, the third highest in the league, but is full of praise for the work of those around her.
“I feel like the more games I play the easier it gets but definitely the more coach and teammate support it gets better,” she added.
“The girls have been amazing this season. There’s been so much pressure on everyone and just supporting each other.
“I’m still challenging myself and trying to shoot outside of my comfort zone.”
With an average age of 22, the youthful nature of London Pulse may be a challenge when it comes to experience, but it’s never slowed them down on the court.
Pulse finished third in the regular season and Tchine is adamant that embracing the youthful side of the club has played a hand in their season’s success.
She said: “In terms of being a young team, I feel like that’s ever stopped us and it’s actually pushed us more to prove ourselves and show. Yes, we are a young team but we can still do what the big girls are doing.
“Because we are such a young team we have each other’s back even more because it’s new to a lot of us. Just being able to have each other we understand each other more.
“It has been at times challenging, because we are all young and sometimes we get hit with something that’s not meant to happen but this is how it is.
“Even with the challenges, we’ve taken it with both hands and made it into something great.”
“We’re a young team but that’s never stopped us and it will never stop us.”
Tchine’s impressive form this season has seen her selected for the England Roses programme, and though the 22-year-old was not selected for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, she is taking it all in her stride.
She said: “Getting selected for England, whether its Futures or Roses has always been like a massive blessing to me and I honestly hold it so close to my heart. It’s just a massive opportunity that when it comes you have to take it.
“This year being selected for the Roses is very exciting and I’m very nervous but my aim is to learn from the older girls so try to take little things that they do.
“My first year I just want to learn and soak in everything and then try and put that into my own performance.
“I’m just going with the flow this year and when my time comes in going to smash it.”
Commonwealth Games England has appointed SportsAid to lead on the development, management and operational delivery of Team England Futures at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. You can find out more about the programme by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.