Shooter on the court, and shooting from the hip off it: Meet England Netball star George Fisher
Star shooter George Fisher has been selected for her fifth spell in England Netball’s senior training programme, and this year ‘the baby of the group’ is looking to see how far she can push herself.
Fisher, who is one of the youngest members of the squad at 21, has worked her way up from when she was a 14-year-old in the under-17 squad, to being considered an under-21 player just two years later.
A year later she was selected for the full-time Roses programme, but this year is different for the youngster as she is more ‘excited’ than ‘nervous’ and is more motivated than ever to test her limits.
The squad returned to the court at the end of July for the first time in three months and Fisher is happy to be back.
She told NewsChain: "I want to see who I can be as a player. It’s seeing now how hard I can work and how far I can push myself and what I can achieve. This is grind time now.
"I love learning I think there is always something you can take from anyone and everyone, people that are younger or less experienced than me are still giving me tips.
“Everyone has their own styles so I’m all up for learning, and anything anyone can give me I definitely take it on board and try and implement it.”
Describing herself as ‘the annoying little sister of the squad,' she sees that being the ‘baby’ comes with positives and negatives.
“When I was young a lot of my teammates were very much like ‘try this and try that’, and it’s a benefit in the fact that everyone wants to help you learn and grow,” she added.
"But it can also be detrimental because sometimes it can be seen as a weakness dealing with so much to learn.
"Like ‘oh she’s not quite ready yet’ and I think sometimes people still see me as like a 15-year-old kid and I’m like ‘I promise I’m older’.
But Fisher, who was a swimmer before becoming a netball player, says being surrounded by people older has never been an issue.
She added: "When I was 12-years-old I was six foot and I have probably only grown a couple of more inches, but I was swimming at that age with people who were in their 20s.
"So I’ve always been surrounded by people at different ages. It kind of felt natural in netball, it was the same sort of thing you just kind of progress with your ability.
“It’s the norm for me, the girls are so lush and I’m kind of that annoying little sister figure for some of them.”
And being a shooter in the squad can be a very pressurising environment for some players, but not it seems for Fisher!
She said: "When it’s a tight [scoreline] I feel less pressure and more adrenaline, I feel like I could run a London Marathon off that adrenaline and excitement.
"The only thing I really think about when I do go on is when we have a game plan or something specific put in place.
"With different opposition and different teams there will be different game plans, so I never really think ‘oh I want to score this’ or ‘I want to get this many balls’.
"It’s more thinking about the game plan and trying to implement that. I always try and think well if I’m doing my job and I’m following that game plan then I should get the feeds and hopefully my shooting is on point.
"But yeah it’s when you are putting that shot up, its kind of the hard part or the easy part depending which way you look it."
After the coronavirus pandemic wiped the majority of sport off the 2020 calendar, the Roses squad are back and raring to go.
She said: "We’ve been training again, just testing the waters. It’s very different in terms of following the rules, the guidelines and the boundaries.
"Having to pretend to high five from two metres away is a bit weird.
“We are focused on the nitty-gritty footwork patterns and learning the basics again.”
But with the Quad Series cancelled, which is an annual event between Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, there are no international fixtures scheduled.
Fisher is keeping her fingers crossed and is aware that fans are desperate to watch the squad play again.
When the next fixture is in place it will be the first time she has been under new head coach Jess Thirlby who was appointed after the 2019 World Cup.
“I’m looking forward to building bonds with her a bit further. Jess is lovely, she’s very chilled, she’s very articulate, she’s a good coach," she added.
But for the Vitality Netball Superleague, the 2020 season has been called off altogether after playing just four rounds and Fisher, who plays for Saracens Mavericks, says she was 'gutted’ to hear the news.
"I think it’s a shame this season ended so prematurely," she said.
“I’m gutted because obviously we wanted to play the season but also just because we haven’t been able to play for so long.
"This season would have been such a fight between all of the teams. Sometimes you can see a real divide between the top half and the bottom half of the league table.
“But this year I felt it could have been very interesting. Obviously we don’t have the same crowds as Australia or New Zealand but it was definitely on the rise."
The Vitality Netball Superleague 2021 season is due to begin in February.