“My first sport I knocked out my teammate, gave away a 50 and could not learn the flight of the ball. I could not even get in the suitable positions to mark. After that I used to be like, properly, I am not going to be a goalkicker, I am going to play within the ruck.”
It should even have been doubly pleasing for Layton’s many followers to see somebody whose fierce profession they’d admired on the court docket evolve on the sphere, in addition to to witness an individual so beneficiant in speaking about psychological well being struggles return to clearly having fun with sport.
“From the second I came visiting there was by no means any judgment; they’ve all the time supported me in my journey and my progress within the final two years – simply to see how blissful they had been for me, that is what made me so blissful,” she says.
Layton, a confessed “perfectionist”, has been clear concerning the affect of assorted stressors on her psychological well being throughout her netball profession, which included transferring 13 instances in 10 years. She says the goodwill and workforce spirit round AFLW has been an enormous increase, as has the flexibility to attain stability between a life on and off subject.
“I am an actual neighborhood sort of woman and each time you progress you permit your mates, household, work … My sister was having her second baby and I hated that I hadn’t seen the primary one – she does not even know me. She’d see me on TV and be like, ‘Aunty!’ after which see me in individual and be like, ‘Who’re you?’
“You may discover with psychological well being plenty of it’s persona pushed. I am a perfectionist, that was my biggest downfall as an athlete. That is why athletes have so many battles, we put every part into our sport. Then in the future you go, ‘Oh, however who else am I, what else am I?’ You have got this actual id disaster – in order that’s the principle factor I’ve overcome actually.”
Layton says phrases from former AFL participant and psychological well being advocate, Wayne Schwass, on the funeral of former participant Danny Frawley, with whom Layton had labored on the Fox Sports activities soccer present Bounce, resonated along with her.
“He stated such highly effective phrases: at any time when his pals say, ‘Are you higher?’ you say, ‘Effectively, I am me.’ You are by no means going to be ‘higher’, you’re your psychological habits. And it is the way you study to reside with them that makes you a greater individual … with good psychological well being.”
Layton nonetheless has “ups and downs” (“I am nonetheless a perfectionist and nonetheless have these issues that get me down; however I’ve a very nice psychologist who retains me on monitor”). However being again amongst her Melbourne-based household, having accomplished a private coaching course, having her April marriage ceremony to fiance Luke Norder forward, and being an envoy for the sustainability organisation the Sports activities Surroundings Alliance, has given her a contented stability.
On subject, the image can be rosy.
“Final yr I wasn’t even a footballer. I believe that was fairly apparent to inform. This yr I’ve actually developed myself. I am positively a footballer now. It is nice to really feel assured on subject, know the place I am working and that I can contribute to the workforce. I actually lacked confidence final yr and wasn’t including additional worth. This yr I really feel I can add worth for my workforce.”
So how does she charge on the (considerably harsh-sounding) self-assessment scale of footy abilities now? “I am ‘OK’ now. We have come up a peg in my books. You have received ‘I suck’, ‘I am OK’ and ‘I am superb’, there is no in between. So now, I am ‘OK’ at soccer, which is cool.”
Wendy Tuohy is Life-style editor.