WinS Diaries: A Day in the Life of Netballer Kiera Austin - Women's Health

WinS Diaries: A Day in the Life of Netballer Kiera Austin

The netballer on playing for the Diamonds, equal pay in sports and her plans for life after sport.

Welcome to our new series, The Women in Sport Diarieswhere we show what it really takes to be an athlete: the dedication, strict nutrition, intense training schedules and the mental and emotional intelligence. We also highlight how many female athletes are still not being properly compensated to compete at a high level and hope that the more we shine a light on this, the more opportunities we can create.

For Australian Diamond Netball player and NuroKor Ambassador Kiera Austin, 24, netball is life. She’s been playing it in some form since she was six years old, turning professional at age 20, and this year she even debuted for the Australia national netball team – a lifelong dream.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to play netball at that level,” she says, “and I am so proud that I did. It’s made me even hungrier to play at that level again.”

Another dream of hers was to be paid for the sport she loves so much and that became a reality back when she was first professional, though that rookie salary of $30,000 didn’t cover her expenses. And while she earns more now as a national player, she says the average salary in netball is around the same as the rookie salaries for male AFL players. 

“I have been paid now for four years and heading into another two-year contract; however, I do a lot of coaching and appearances away from the court to earn some more money,” she explains. “It’s frustrating as a female athlete to put in the same number of hours, effort and dedication balancing study and work alongside sport, and not receive the same monetary benefit [as male athletes] from it.”

As a result, Austin already have plans for her post-sport career studying Medical Science, but in the meantime, she is currently six months into an ACL rehab with plans to return to the court next year.

“My biggest goal at the moment is to just be back on the court again! The Commonwealth Games are also next year and while it will be a very hard goal, I’d love to try and make the team or at least feel like I did the absolute most to try and be selected,” she says. 

Setting such an ambitious goal has further fuelled the passion she has for a sport that has captured her attention for 18 years. The attraction? Austin says it’s the “speed, the smarts, and the strength of the game” that has kept her playing.

“Netball challenges you to think quickly in the moment and to be smart enough to set up plays. You must anticipate what the attackers will do and have the courage to intercept the ball as well,” she says. “I love how netball challenges my body and I constantly want to be getter stronger and fitter and more skilled every year.”

We asked the national netballer to share her recovery routine with Women’s Health to find out how she trains to heal her ACL, what she eats and how she balances it all. 

Keira Austin’s Recovery Diary

7.00am: “My alarm wakes me up and I’m pretty quick to turn it off and get up straight away. The first thing I do is make myself some breakfast, which is usually smashed avocado on toast with some feta, and if I have more time, some eggs. I am usually ready within half an hour, and I quickly head to the coffee shop to get my caffeine hit for the day!”

8.00am: “I make it to my physio session and start off with some treatment and we see how my knee is progressing, whether or not there is swelling and how my quad bulk is building. I spend about three hours doing a combination of strength work and aerobic work on the bike. Strength is all single leg focused so it takes me some time to get through it all! Every session I do single leg, leg extension (ACL rehabbers will understand the difficulty), but I use the NuroKor Mibody device to help get a little more quad activation.” 

12.00pm: “When I get home from the physio, I have a quick shower, and fuel with protein and make myself some lunch. If it is not leftovers from dinner, I get some sushi or make myself a chicken wrap.”

12.30pm: “I sit myself down at my desk and put my NuroKor Mitouch device around my knee. It has several settings that I use to help the knee recover from the session and control any swelling that appears. Once I start it, I let it run and I do some study. I have two final exams to complete in my degree, Medical Microbiology as well as Advanced Biochemistry.”

4.00pm: “By this time my brain is tired, so I make myself an afternoon snack, usually some crackers and cream cheese. I am very aware to snack as much as I can, so I maintain my body weight and muscle mass as best as possible. I might even watch some Netflix during this time to relax.”

6.30/7pm: “Dinner time! Tonight, we are making home-made pizzas. Quick and easy to make so I can do a little more study afterwards. When I finish dinner, I make myself a tea with collagen powder in it. Every little bit helps the knee and helps me to get back on court sooner.”

8.00pm: “I’ll sit down for another hour or two for study. I will have one more semester of university after these exams, so I’m trying to put in as much work as possible to get the best grades and prepare me for life after sport.”

10.00pm: “Time for bed!”

By Lucy E. Cousins

Lucy is a writer for Women's Health with more than 15 years experience under her belt. She's obsessed with everything from flotation tanks, meditation and activewear as well as all of the latest fitness classes. But she's all about balance... so in between fitness sessions, you'll find her with a coffee in one hand and a croissant in the other

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