Building confidence is all about practice and self belief, said Aussie Womens Sevens squad leader and inaugural Minerva Star Alicia Quirk.
Playing rugby at all levels of competition is about "focusing on the processes" and not worrying about expectations for Quirk and her team mates.
“I play my best footy when I’m enjoying the moment, and I’m not stressed or nervous or not worrying about anything,” she said.
“For the Olympics, we just kind of try to stay inside our performance bubble and not worry about what other people thought or what the media thought.”
Although Quirk describes herself a naturally outgoing and bubbly person, she admits it took “a while” to feel confident transitioning from Touch Football to Rugby - especially working on the tackles.
“The contact side of (rugby) was really different to me. I knew I had the ability from an attack point of view, but the contact side of things, I had a bit of self doubt,” she said.
“I just went back to what I knew worked for me.”
While being part of a close-knit squad means everyone knows each other’s strengths and mistakes, it’s knowing the “intricate details” of each other that makes a cohesive team.
“The only way to know the other girl has your back on the field is to know everything about them, and the same to know you’re going to have their back and know everything about you,” Quirk said.
She describes the disappointment of coming second as “really hard to swallow”.
“For me, I use that as motivation for next time, to make sure that when we do empty the tanks, when we get the next opportunity in that kind of scenario, that we are on the other side,” Quirk said.
In a world where sport is not longer just sport, Quirk credits her Minerva mentor Christine McLoughlin for helping her navigate the business side of her career.
“The goal for me is to try to leverage, as much as I can, the success of my sport, but to use myself as a driver for change within the women’s sporting landscape,” Quirk said.