Friday / 1 / July

Kim Ravaillion: How a major setback was a blessing in disguise

To some, experiencing a setback in life is reason enough to give up but for 22-year-old Australian Netball player Kim Ravaillion, a setback was just what she needed to propel her to greatness.

There was a time when the 22-year-old Australian Diamonds and Queensland Firebirds player came very close to not pursuing a career in netball.

She had just tried out for a place on the New South Wales national netball team for a second year in a row and once again, didn’t make the cut.

The then 17-year-old had a big decision to make – was it time to give up on her dream?

“The first year I tried out for the team I was like, oh yeah, I don’t know really what I’m trying for,” Ravaillion said. “Mum just put my name down and I didn’t know it was about representing the state. I didn’t care. Didn’t make it.

“The next year, I knew exactly what I was trying out for and I tried really hard. I did all the training I thought I needed to. Everyone was saying I was going to get on the team. I got all excited and then didn’t make it. Gutted.”

It was a clear-cut question from her dad was all it took to change her mindset from accepting defeat to forcing determination.

“From that moment I found out I didn’t make it, I cried,” she said. “Then Dad asked me a simple question. He said: ‘Do you love it?’ And I had the thought:

“What would I do if I wasn’t playing netball?
I wouldn’t be doing anything. I’ve dedicated my life to this.”

This realisation had Ravaillion setting her sights to the next trials the following year.

“I spoke with my coach, Jo Macdermid, at the time,” she said. “She pretty much sat me down in her office and I cried to her for about an hour and she’s like let it out, let it out.

“From that day on, we set out a plan and I would come in every Wednesday for an hour and work on my skills as a centre court player.

“We had a state league netball comp. She gave me a video camera and so every game I played I had to record my performance. Then I had to take it into her at school and we would analyse it together. Then we would pick out all the points I had to work on.

“I was very lucky to have her there because she is one of the top coaches and she knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s actually quite scary. “She used to scare me a lot and I think being scared by her made me want to really impress her.”

And impress her she did. The following year, Ravaillion’s hard work and stringent training regime paid off when she made the team. “[Macdermid] said, you’re only young, kid. We’ll make sure you’ll be in the team next year.”

“My coach gave me all this confidence that made me believe in myself. That was the hardest thing, I didn’t believe in myself and that’s why my trial was so bad, because I thought everyone around me was better. She made me realise that I was actually good.”

What Ravailion probably didn’t realise at the time, was how good her training would actually allow her to become.

She played with the Diamonds when they won the 2015 World Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games but Ravaillion said there is one moment that stands out from the rest.

“Winning the ANZ championships for the Firebirds in 2015. It was better than winning the World Cup,” she said.

“That winning feeling. Because we were down like the whole game and to come up and win by one goal. I just remember looking up at the clock and being like, we’ve actually done this. I immediately started crying because I was just raw with emotion. I was so happy. The happiest I’ve been ever in a game of netball.”

It was a moment she also realised her success.

“Success to me means all that hard work and all the hard training that I do and the emotions that I’m feeling – sometimes I feel like, why do I put my body through all this strain – and it’s because of that feeling that you get when you reach your goals. It’s all so worth it.”

Header image via: Kim Ravaillion Instagram