Sam Poolman is much more than just an elite athlete. She is an inspired leader who is passionate about being a positive role model for the community which has supported her throughout her career.
Sam has consistently earned leadership positions from a young age, due to her passion for driving positive team culture and her ability to inspire and gain respect from her team mates, coaches and management.
Upon her return from four years in Adelaide playing for the Thunderbirds, Sam was struck with the realization that local netballers in the Hunter region required more support in order to progress to an elite level.
She was driven to devise a solution and create her ASPIRE Netball program.
Working closely with the Hunter Academy of Sport (of which Sam is a graduate), ASPIRE provides a range of programs for different ages and skills sets – all focused on helping the next generation of local netballers to develop their skills and find pathways to a future in Netball.
Interest in ASPIRE grew rapidly which was reflected in the number of girls eager to learn from Sam, all who quickly signed up to be part of her program. The opportunity to be mentored and taught by their role model was too much to pass up for many aspiring young Hunter netballers.
In the process, Sam has reinvigorated local young female athletes to achieve, gain confidence and progress through the Netball NSW pathways.
“For the majority of my teenage years my parents had to drive me up and down the freeway to Sydney, to give me the opportunity to realize my dreams. I just want to make sure that our young Hunter region netballers have access to a high level of netball coaching and mentoring. This is my way of giving back to a community that I grew up in and love.” Sam Poolman
Sam believes that much of her success in life arises from the values and personal attributes instilled through her years of playing sport. It is her great ambition to perform an integral role in fostering a new generation of people to be active, healthy and valuable members of society through a life-long love of sport. She strongly believes that involvement in any sport, not just netball helps to build community and connectedness, inspires confidence, resilience and discipline in young people, all essential attributes for our future leaders.
In 2017 Sam’s ability to be a leader was recognised not only in her leadership positions. She was also nominated as a finalist in the Women’s Health Women in Sports awards, ‘One to Watch’ category and was awarded Giants Members Player of the year.
A consummate public speaker and media professional due to her ambassadorial roles with Priceline, Net Set Go, Variety and Alzheimer’s NSW, Sam has proved herself a valuable representative and role model for any aspiring sportsperson.
Sam’s professional career
A Newcastle native, Sam’s netball career really began before she was even a teenager, when she made her first rep team at the age of 12. She progressed quickly to her first state team at age 15, continuing to represent her state ever since.
At age 16, Sam earned a scholarship to the New South Wales Institute of Sport, until age 21 when she was awarded a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Sam also represented Australia in a number of junior National Netball teams.
An elite athlete, she played for the Adelaide Thunderbirds from 2013-2016.
In 2017 Sam joined Giants Netball and gained a position in their leadership group. Sam was elevated to Vice Captain during the 2017 season after a season ending injury was incurred by Captain, Kimberly Green. This was a learning curve for Sam, but an opportunity where she thrived. Sam is the only Newcastle native to be playing in the Suncorp Super Netball League.
The 2017 year also saw Sam selected to play in the Australian Fast5 team, alongside the best players in the nation.