How Island School netball starlet Ada Ytterdal balances sports and social life

How Island School netball starlet Ada Ytterdal balances sports and social life

As the 18-year-old prepares for university, she talks about her netballing success and how the sport is a good distraction

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Ada Ytterdal is confident her team can come first in this month’s finals.
Photo: Takumi Photography

In netball, there’s no such thing as waiting on the wings. No matter what position you play, every action can help your team inch closer towards scoring a goal. When Ada Ytterdal participates in netball matches, she plays either wing defence, wing attack or centre.

The 18-year-old Island School student started playing netball with friends when she was in Primary Five. As she got older, her parents encouraged her to join netball training at the Hong Kong Cricket Club. She started on the junior team, advanced to the under-14s and under-16s, and now plays for the ladies team, the HKCC Demons.

When Ada was 14, her coach urged her to try out for the Hong Kong team. Her application was successful, and she has been playing for them ever since. Now on the national under-21s team, she trains a couple of times a week with the Cricket Club and coaches a junior team on the weekend. At her club, Ada is the youngest player competing at the Premier Division level – the highest team league she can play in. Depending on the schedule of trials and matches, she sometimes ends up playing many hours of sport a week.


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Not that Ada is phased by intense training schedules: “I’ve always been very active,” she tells Young Post. “I’ve always enjoyed physical exercise, but have been particularly driven by netball.” Life could have been very different for the native Norwegian, who could have ended up playing handball or volleyball – Norway’s most popular sports – had she grown up in her home country.

Being part of several teams has given Ada a whole network of close friends from all over the world, and she loves the teamwork aspect of her sport. However, sometimes netball gets in the way of family activities or hanging out with friends, as she has to prioritise schoolwork.

“My sport has a big impact on my social life,” she says. “My parents might want to go on a family hike or organise a trip, but I can’t [go along] due to training or homework. I have had to choose what I can and cannot do quite carefully.” It’s only during summer, the off season, when she devotes lots of time to running, hiking or hanging out with friends.

Ada is looking forward to the premier league finals this month, and is confident her team can come first despite strong competition.

“I’m not looking to go pro,” says Ada, who hopes to study nutrition in Britain while playing for a university team. For the time being, she says, “netball is a break from all the pressures from school. I just love getting away from it all, an hour and a half of just netball – not having to think about anything else is really nice.”


Bench notes

What is your ultimate goal in your sport?
I am not going to looking to pro. I just want to have as much fun as possible.

What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Imagine Dragons’ On Top Of The World. If I’ve thrown a bad pass or missed an interception in training, I always think about this song.

You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
I would like to look at someone, see what they are doing, and copy them.

If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Sports clothes – I am always washing clothes and I never have what I am looking for. Even if I don’t have sports that day, I still wear sports clothes.

10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company are you spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Asics. I love their netball shoes.

Edited by Andrew McNicol

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