Motherhood improves mental resilience for Mitchener

By Mathew Asciak

Despite only beginning her competitive football career four years ago, Amy Mitchener made an immediate impact on-field.  Playing for the St Mary’s Football Club in Greensborough, merely eight months after her first-born child, her football journey began.  

In her time playing at St Mary’s, Mitchener was selected as the Full-Back in the Team of the Year in consecutive seasons in the NFNL across divisions two and three.  She is also the reigning Best and Fairest at the club, which should breed great confidence going into her debut season at Coburg.  

Joining Coburg was not the first time Mitchener has represented a women’s football team in their inaugural season, after taking up an offer from a friend to join her local club.  “One of my friends from basketball said a local club was starting a women’s team… so we went down and I didn’t know how it was going to go… and it turns out I was the biggest kick there,” Mitchener explained.

Becoming a parent momentarily stopped her sporting career, but that has only made Mitchener more resilient in her sporting commitments.  Speaking about how having a family has impacted her sporting career, she said; “It’s an eye-opener, especially when other athletes say they have one or two kids. You don’t actually realise how much of a jumble and commitment sport is when you have kids involved.” 

Childbirth gave Mitchener an additional learning experience when preparing for competitive sport and admits it took a mental toll on her.  “It amazes me how a female body can do what it does and you can still do what you want to do… it’s a big mental game,” she explained.  

Like Mitchener, her eldest son, who has recently turned four, is involved in various sports and activities, with a desire to play football.  “The eldest is a go-getter.  He rides motorbikes, plays golf, basketball and he wants to play football and we will do that with him,”  she said.  Her youngest child is seven-and-a-half months and according to Mitchener, “he’s going to be my grey hair maker, he’s on the edge already!” she laughed.  

Mitchener has achieved a lot in her sporting career to date and when asked how other mothers could follow her path, she stressed; “Listen to your body.  Don’t put pressure on yourself to get back too quick. Listen to how your body is reacting to what you’re doing and adjust accordingly.” 

Her desire to play football began when she was 10, but it was put on pause due to concerns from her father.  “At that stage of football, it was playing with the boys and he didn’t want me to get hurt… so he put me into basketball,” Mitchener explained.   

That choice turned out to be a good one, as Mitchener quickly showed that she was capable of playing at a high level.  “I found that I was actually good at it. When I was 12, I scored 42 points in a Grand Final,” Mitchener explained. When asked about why she committed to basketball for the majority of her competitive sporting career thus far, she said she found the team aspect really enjoyable.

Wanting to take her involvement in the sport further, Mitchener tried out for the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). But even though she was unsuccessful, she still took pleasure in representing the Diamond Valley Eagles and Eltham Wildcats in the Big V competition.  “In myself, I always thought that was an accomplishment in itself,” Mitchener explained when speaking about the WNBL try-outs.  

Despite not taking the field for the Lions yet, Mitchener has already added another accolade to her growing trophy cabinet, being named in the Senior Women’s inaugural leadership group. She can’t wait to take the next step in her amazing sporting career with a committed group of players.