Its unfamiliar territory for Australia’s Louise Bawden, injury setbacks for the first time in her career have been jeopardising hopes of a first ever Commonwealth games appearance in Beach Volleyball next year.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate in my career never to have had a lot of injuries, little injuries and little setbacks feel a lot bigger when you’ve not had to deal with a lot.”
Forced to sit out the recent first Games selection event, Bawden says it’s been frustrating but she won’t be hoisting the white flag just yet.
“It was a real shame to miss the NSW open but sometimes you just have to suck that up and do everything you can to bounce back.”
Bawden has arrived in Sydney for this week’s FIVB World Tour event and that’s are as far as she is thinking, not allowing herself to worry about Commonwealth Games selection.
“Can’t get ahead of yourself, ultimately nothing goes well if you’re not performing well so that’s where my focus is now making sure I can get the best of my game out there as quickly as I can and continue building on that through the coming months.
It’s a new mindset the 36 year old is being forced to develop, dealing with relatively minor but annoying injuries.
“It’s part about managing my own expectations on things and staying patient.”
“I’m just looking for daily improvement each day getting more out of myself physically, maximising ball touches so I’m as ready as I can be to play.”
You might also expect Bawden would be doing it tough watching the incredible success her Rio Olympics partner Taliqua Clancy has been having with Mariafe Artacho del Solar.
The new pairing have been unbeatable since forming for the Asian Tour last month, winning three consecutive Gold Medals. Bawden says she is happy any time Australia is on top of the podium.
“I’m always keen to see success. We work in a tight squad we know each other really well so of course ‘Im really happy to see them do well and it was an awesome moment to see the girls win like they did in China because having Australia on top of the podium is always the number one aim.”
For a team player like Bawden a successful competitive environment is critical to success and ultimately the goal is for Olympic Gold at Tokyo 2020.
“It’s great we are at a place where we are banging heads against each other. You see the best countries in the world that’s what they do. Germany, USA and Brazil they are always having training camps and knocking each other off to try and improve their levels. The more of that we can create In Australia it’s definitely welcomed.
Bawden is currently competing in the FIVB World Tour on Sydney’s Manly Beach.