The most challenging part of any young netballer’s career is arguably that first step onto the senior stage.
Making the transition from youth level to the Vitality Roses or Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) can prove difficult for some due to the increased pace and physicality of a higher level.
One player to have made this progression successfully is young Roses Future and London Pulse goal shooter Olivia Tchine.
“That’s where everything started for me”
Tchine has been part of the Roses Futures since 2018 after impressing for her country at youth level. She had previously won U17 Netball Europe with England and travelled on tours of Australia prior to her selection.
The shooter is now a consistent member of the Vitality Roses’ camps and regularly trains with the best players in the country. In January, she made her England A debut at the Vitality Netball Nations Cup.
A far cry from where she started, Tchine originally began playing netball at primary school just for fun. It was only when her netball club saw her potential at goal shooter that her netball career really took off.
“I got into netball when I was in primary school, roughly in Year Five. It was literally just for fun. It was an after school club so I would go there with my friends just to have a good time and learn something new,” she said.
“When I first started playing, I was a centre and a goal attack. It all changed when I was about 13 when I actually joined a netball club for the first time in south London.
“Even there, I told them that I was a goal attack. They actually put me in at goal shooter instead and that’s where everything kind of started for me.”
“My mum has always been my role model”
Standing at 191cm, Tchine is a tall shooter of high calibre. Her VNSL team London Pulse include a huge standing jump and footwork as her major strengths but the youngster has also impressed with her strong hold and shot accuracy.
The 20-year-old scored 17 goals from the bench as her Pulse team won three from three in the 2020 Superleague season.
Tchine has had the benefit of learning from Head Coach Sam Bird as well as teammates Sigi Burger and Chiara Semple at club level in recent years. Her biggest influences, however, came before she entered the professional realm.
“My biggest influence when I started playing netball was definitely my primary school teacher. I had problems in school trying to find the right sport for me. I was basically an all-rounder. If it wasn’t for my primary school teacher suggesting netball, I don’t think I would have ever started playing and would have never found the right sport for me,” she said.
“My role model is my mum and that’s always been the case. Life hasn’t been the best but my mum has always shown positivity even in negative times. She’s always been strong and she always shows me and my siblings that no matter what you go through, no matter how dark it can be, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s one thing that I love about her. That’s why I see her as my role model.
“I didn’t really model myself on anyone to be honest. When I started out I was new to netball so I didn’t really know that much. I was really just searching on YouTube trying to find out a bit more about netball.”
“Training with the Roses is a dream come true”
The Pulse pathway graduate has a long future in the sport ahead of her. She has already made great strides domestically and looks set to continue her international journey with England.
Tchine can still afford time to think about just how far she has come since she started playing on those school courts back in Year Five.
“My journey to this point has been really exciting. This is my third year as a Future and I really, really enjoy it. Before I got into Futures, I was in the U19s where I was able to travel. I went to Australia and New Zealand to compete in different competitions,” she said.
— Olivia Assaindey Tchine (@Liv_Tchine) October 23, 2020
“When I was 16, I competed in Netball Europe with the U17s when I was able to get my bronze cap. So far, I’m really enjoying it. Being able to train with the Roses, the best athletes in the country, is an honour and a dream come true.
“I’ve been at Pulse since it was first founded and I’ve come up through the Pathway. Pulse means a lot to me. [I’d do anything] to cheer the girls on and to let them know that we’ve got their backs through thick and thin.”
Read our other Where It All Began instalments including; Halimat Adio, Summer Artman, Eleanor Cardwell, Amy Carter, Iona Christian, Jade Clarke, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, George Fisher, Laura Malcolm, Gabby Marshall, Nat Panagarry, Yasmin Parsons, Razia Quashie and Fran Williams.