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Halimat Adio’s London Pulse diary: Pulse’s focus, communication and home advantage

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Coverage of the Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Monday at 5pm with two matches on Sky Sports Arena and Mix, both contests will also be streamed live on the Sky Sports YouTube channel

Halimat Adio returns with a new player diary as the Superleague moves into the second half of the season

Halimat Adio returns with a new player diary as the Superleague moves into the second half of the season

London Pulse’s Halimat Adio is back with her third player diary of the season. This time around, she talks about the competition’s move to London, shares how Pulse have spent the two weeks between rounds and what they’re focused on moving into the second half of the season.

First things first, I’m super excited to be able to play at home, as the Superleague moves down to London and the competition makes our home, its home.

Wakefield was amazing and I think we’ll all miss it as the set-up was great. Although, the four-hour drives to get there were quite long, there were real positives to being there as a squad.

With us all being at the team hotel the night before, even with the essential COVID-19 protocols and distancing, it meant that we could have some extra time together as a group.

That said, the Copper Box Arena is our home court; we know it so well and one more bonus is that packing before match weekends will be slightly less stressful!

The Superleague has a new home for the rest of the season (Image Credit - Ben Lumley) The Superleague has a new home for the rest of the season (Image Credit – Ben Lumley)

I know I’m perhaps a little bit biased, but I do think that the Copper Box will be up to standard and it might even beat the set-up in Wakefield! We finished our training there on Thursday and there were glimpses of what’s to come… I can’t wait to see it finished when we take on Storm.

Knowing that we’re coming home, I was thinking a little bit about ‘home advantage’ and if I thought it makes a difference? The reason I was pondering on it, is because you always need to go out and perform wherever you are, but being used to the court and being comfortable in the surroundings I’ve decided absolutely will help.

Labs, matches and communication

Right now, it’s a really busy time for many of us in our squad and as always, our coaches and the whole team at Pulse are being so supportive.

I know I said last time that I’m doing a Biomedical Science degree, and now we’re in our data collection period. For me, that means lab sessions every day and then racing out of the door, getting on a train and getting to training.

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It’s hectic so, my supervisor, myself and our team at Pulse are all working together, because some labs are supposed to be on Saturdays when we have matches. The juggling act that I spoke about last time, well it’s just got a bit faster and slightly more complicated for a few weeks!

I’m not the only one who is juggling different elements though, and one thing that I’ve found to be really important is communication. I share a lot with my team-mates so they know what’s happening and also with the coaches, instead of trying to shoulder everything on my own.

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Fitness and sharpening up

So, what have we been up to since Round 11? Well, I have to say, we’ve packed in quite a lot of fitness work to our training! There’s been some testing in there too, netballers you know it hurts but it’s also important and we’ll get the benefits as the season continues.

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Also, we’ve had time to really talk as a group and set out what we want from each other at training. We’ve said that we’re going to be even tougher against each other during our sessions and really up the intensity that way.

We’ve talked together about being totally honest with each other, and I do think that the two weeks we’ve had have been great for us. It’s really invigorated us and we’re ready to hit the court again.

Vitality Netball Superleague – Round 12 fixtures and results

Sunday Celtic Dragons 34-51 Team Bath Netball
Sunday Severn Stars 37-45 Strathclyde Sirens
Sunday Saracens Mavericks 48-63 Leeds Rhinos Netball
Sunday Wasps 42-52 Loughborough Lightning
Monday at 5.15pm Wasps vs Severn Stars
Monday at 7.15pm Surrey Storm vs London Pulse

Focus on ourselves

When we met Surrey Storm before, we were disappointed to lose and we know that they’ll be coming to get us, so it should be a great match to finish off Round 12.

When you face a team a second time around, you’ve got a plan that’s got more to it than when you met them for the first time, but you’ve still got to be adaptable.

Over the first 11 rounds, all of us have changed as players, so although I know what someone like Karyn Bailey might do, I also need to be smart enough to adapt and change on the job.

Pulse are focused on attacking the second half of the Superleague season (Image Credit - Ben Lumley) Pulse are focused on attacking the second half of the Superleague season (Image Credit – Ben Lumley)

The biggest thing that I’d like us to do against Storm (and beyond) is to focus on ourselves and believe.

Any of the matches that we lost narrowly during the first half of the season, or even the ones where the scoreboard might look a little bigger to other people, we want to close up and win.

I definitely think that we are where we need to be, and we just need to polish a few elements during matches. As a group, we’re a new team, with people from a lot of different backgrounds, and I just think that we need to have that confidence.

I believe that we can beat every team and it’s about all of us taking that mindset onto court and 100 per cent believing that we can. As a new team, that level of belief isn’t something you can just magic out of thin air, you need to create it and it’s exciting to get back on court and do that.

Well, that’s it from me for now, by the time you’re reading this, you might have already seen the Copper Box Arena and I’m sure it’s looking amazing.

Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues tonight with Round 12. Join us live on Sky Sports Arena and Mix from 5pm, and both matches will also be streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel.

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