Safe to say, it’s been a pretty huge past year for Sharni Layton. Since retiring from the netball court, the 31-year-old athlete has made the switch to a totally new sporting code – AFLW – as a player for Collingwood Football Club. Add to that an engagement to boyfriend Luke Norder as well as a move into TV presenting on Fox Footy’s Bounce, where she joins a panel in recapping the footy week.
Good job this legend has never been one to shy away from a challenge. Here, Sharni shares what she’s learned about embracing the next move, living in the moment and why it’s frickin’ awesome to take a risk.
Tackle challenges head on
“AFLW happens at such a great speed, so one of the biggest challenges is playing the game under pressure. It's a lot to wrap my mind around – nailing skills, getting around my teammates, knowing where to run, getting to ground balls, clunking marks in big packs. But, I've always loved a challenge and my brain is eating up the new information. I have a whole new appreciation for the game, the girls, their skills and how strong and fit they are.”
Take in every moment
“AFLW is such a supportive environment. I remember my first time playing ruck. It took me a while to wrap my head around the fact that I was going to run in and jump at someone… and may the strongest girl win! I copped a corky from my teammate who giggled, "Welcome to football Sharni – run in and carry on!" I also really appreciate being able to run out onto fields like Victoria Park where Collingwood has so much history, and play at Marvel Stadium with between eight and 10,000 people watching us. Also, the fact that we play where the boys play. My dreams have come true.”
Be alright with stuffing up
“Elite athletes are perfectionists so [moving into TV presenting] has challenged me in the sense that I need to be OK with learning, not being the best and being OK when I stuff up – I’ll fix it the next time around. We have to do this in many areas of life, so it has definitely prepared me for life after sport which, I'm so grateful for. Fortunately, I've never been camera shy, but it's just about nailing new skills with the whole world watching… and trying to forget that part!”
Embrace your inner risk-taker
“If you want a change, go for it. If the grass isn't greener, then at least you know. But, you might find you get a whole new lease on life by learning new skills. I believe life rewards those who take risks. It might be asking for a new role in your current workplace or simply keeping an eye out. It's about doing your research and making an informed decision. If you're unsure what to do, ask yourself – what is it you're passionate about? What is your value and where can you apply it? It's pretty daunting going on a show like Bounce with three very good ex-footballers and trying to hold my own. But, I think about what I can add to the panel that they can’t, then use that to my strength.”
Check out Bounce on Fox Footy every Sunday night after the football. For more from Sharni, listen to her chat on our podcast WH Uninterrupted.