Maddy Proud of the Sydney Swifts, poses for a portrait to promote her new teen fiction novel, Grace on the Court. Photo by Cole BennettsMidcourter Maddy Proud is enjoying a unique preseason as she prepares to help return the NSW Swifts to the summit of n netball.
When she runs out on court for round one against the Queensland Firebirds on April 29, it will be with the almost unique distinction in n sport of being a published children’s author.
Proud has had a busy summer preparing for the launch of her first book while juggling the rigours of an extended Super Netball preseason under new Swifts coach Briony Akle.
Her maiden title is Grace On The Court, a book that follows a 13-year-old netballer through her first year at high school with Proud drawing upon several experiences she endured while transitioning into her teenage years.
“Parts of it come from my own life, although her life’s a lot more exciting than mine ever was at 13,” Proud said.
“Everything that a young girl goes through with starting high school, rivals in the [netball] team, bullying, trying to find that balance between not growing up too fast.”
Last year’s Swifts MVP has always been a regular writer, and began penning Grace On The Court at the conclusion of the 2013 World Youth Cup where she captained future n Diamonds Kim Ravaillion, Gretel Tippett and Gabi Simpson.
Within months she’d completed a first draft, although it took several years to find a publisher ahead of Tuesday’s official launch at Curl Curl’s John Fisher netball courts alongside n netball great Annie Sargeant.
And while delighted her book will finally be hitting the shelves, Proud’s number one goal remains winning a Super Netball premiership with the Swifts – a target she strongly believes is achievable this season.
After narrowly losing the 2016 grand final, the Swifts missed last year’s top four altogether finishing third from bottom in the revamped competition as one of the fallen giants of n netball.
A tumultuous off season followed as head coach Rob Wright departed, but eight of 10 squad members from last year were retained and Akle’s signing has brought a renewed sense of belief to the club.
“She’s been such a breath of fresh air and so enthusiastic and so excited about this year that I think it’s going to be a big one for the Swifts,” Proud said.
“The vibe in the team is unlike everything I’ve ever experienced before. It’s sickening how well we all get along and we all want to hang out outside of netball as well.
“Almost three-quarters of our team are from interstate. We don’t have our own families here so we become one family.
“That’s something that’s really special about our team, we actually want to be around each other.”
Akle has already started molding the Swifts into her image, implementing regular swimming and squash sessions as part of the preseason regime.
Upon signing on for three years last September, Akle immediately outlined her intentions claiming she had the cattle at her disposal to turn the Swifts into a powerhouse once more.
It’s a philosophy Proud and her teammates were quick to buy in to.
“We talk about what happened last year doesn’t matter because now we continue on, there’s no excuses, we’re no longer seen as the young team,” Proud said.
“We know how good we are and we know how good we can be. Last year was so good in so many ways, we actually played amazing netball, we just couldn’t play it consistently.
“We’d play two amazing quarters and we’d be up by five goals at three-quarter time and ended up losing by five goals. It’s particularly about that last quarter, we just seemed to go away from everything we’d been doing in those first three quarters that got us to such a good position.
“I don’t think we lost to any team by more than five goals which everyone didn’t really expect. It’s just having that confidence that while we are a young team, we can still take it to the best and getting those last quarters sorted out is going to make a huge difference to us.”
Pre-order Grace On The Court at blackincbooks老域名出售.au/books/grace-court