Go pro: Sharni Layton

Ashleigh Austen
July 28, 2016

The NSW Swifts and Australian Diamonds player has to keep in top form year round. With two Netball World Championship gold medals and a Commonwealth Games gold under her belt, Sharni knows that strength – and recovery – deserve equal footing on the podium. Here’s why.


How long have you been playing netball?

“I’ve been playing for 23 years, I started out when I was five!”


What are the top 3 things great netballers need?

“It changes for each position. However agility, strength and great ball skills are vital no matter what.”


During the on-season, what does a typical week of training look like?

“Our weeks change depending on what day we play or if we’re travelling but we have around ten sessions in a week. This comprises of one game, three on court works, two weights sessions, a yoga class, a Pilates class, a physiotherapy appointment and a massage.”


What exercises do you focus on to strengthen ligaments and get that explosive movement required for the game?

“It’s all about core and lower body strength. I need strong glutes and legs so I focus a lot on movements like deadlifts, squats, leg presses, controlled step-ups, lunges and weighted calf raises. Adding in core exercises and Pilates make sure everything is firing properly. We have the best strength and conditioning coaches writing our programs for different exercises at different stages of season.”


You've sustained some pretty hefty injuries in the past. What do you do to ward them off?

“I do yoga for flexibility and to minimise muscle strains alongside Pilates to make sure my glutes and core activate properly and weights for strength. But at the end of the day, sometimes injuries are unavoidable!”


Talk us through your standard day on a plate.

“For breakfast I’ll have two eggs on toast or porridge. A midmorning snack is my Pure Warrior Shake with Shape protein, a banana, nuts and spinach. For lunch, it’s some sort of protein, with sweet potato and salad. My afternoon snack varies between a banana, nuts, yoghurt or peanut butter and banana on rice cakes. Then to recover after training I’ll have a scoop of Pure Warrior WPI. Dinner will be fish, vegies and salad.”


How does your diet change between on and off-season?

“I look at food as fuel, so the less I train, the less I eat and vice versa. Off-season I’m probably not as strict with my diet and probably eat out more than during on season as I enjoy eating out with friends. All in moderation though.”


Protein must play a huge part in your diet. How did you come to be an ambassador for Pure Warrior Powered by Swisse?

“Swisse is a great supporter of Netball Australia. I’m a well renowned gym junkie and want to be as strong as I can out on the court. I need a protein that gives my muscles the best recovery possible to back up training day in, day out.”


You’re on the road a lot with the team. What’s your best healthy travel tip?

“Preparation is key! I always take celery or carrot sticks and hummus, rice cakes, a protein shake, bananas, nuts – even bean salads on the plane and the bus to avoid eating the crap food that’s provided at airports and service stations. This keeps me feeling great, even on big 24-hour trips to the UK. I also take my own tea bags like peppermint for the plane to avoid too much caffeine while I’m travelling.”


What are you thinking before you go on the court?

“Believe it or not – I’m generally not thinking! I know I have done everything up to that point for the opponent I am coming up against, so I get into my flow. I’ll listen and dance to music (even once out on court!) and laugh and connect with teammates. I let my training and instinct take over. If you’re over thinking – you’re already a second behind play.”