Charmaine Baard

Charmaine Baard is an International Netball player who represents South Africa and plays as a Goal shooter. She made her debut for the South African U21 side v Wales in 2016 and later that year made her full senior debut in the Fast Five World series against Jamaica. One of the Highlights of her Career came, when she scored an amazing 3 pointer to equalise in the last 5 secs against the now 2018 Commonwealth games Champions England, in the 2016 World Series. Domestically Charmaine currently plays in the English Premier league for Surrey storm.

Charmaine grew up in a loving family with a very strong faith and trust in God, despite the family living through a number of challenges and difficulties, especially when her Father, who was a Police officer, broke his back in a car accident and was unable to work.
Charmaine grew up doing a lot of sports but out of them all she loved Netball the most and had begun playing at the age of 8 and as her Grandmother had been a top level coach, that also served as a massive motivation over the first few years. Charmaine recalled though, that there was a moment at around the age of 12, when she realised that this what she wanted to do. One of her first coaches, Mrs Carse, who still supports her to this day, told her she could see her doing something really special and it was the fact that she saw something in her and backed that up with all the support Charmaine would need, that gave her the boost she needed and that initial drive to go on to achieve all that she has.

When Charmaine was around the age of 13, things seemed to hit a bump in the road though. She was told she far too small to make it at representative level and as far as coaches were concerned, at almost every trial she went to, she was simply told she just wasn’t big or strong enough to play at the highest levels. She recalled that at the time, It really knocked her confidence and quitting had crossed her mind but her parents reminded her that God had placed that dream in her heart for a reason and so she shouldn’t give up. So instead of quitting, she worked harder than ever before and by age of 14 she was making her representative teams.

At that point Charmaine was on the road to potentially great things but instead of things getting much better, they got a lot worse. Charmaine was accused by many at school of being arrogant and cocky because of the recognition she was receiving and even though those accusations were untrue, again they dented her confidence. On top of that, once she’d gone on to her first National tournament at 16, the coach at the time didn’t quite have the faith in her that she had in herself and so left her on the bench for long periods, sending a clear message to Charmaine that maybe she just wasn’t good enough. Within two weeks of that setback, she lost her best friend to Cancer and it seemed like her whole world had caved in.

Charmaine told us that in relation to her faith, that although she had grown up very close to God, at this point she became very angry and blamed him for what had happened and for a lot of the things that it seemed were going wrong in her life. As a result, she ended up going down a very dark path and doing things she knew weren’t good for her and that she knew were hurting the people around her she loved. It got to the point where she eventually realised she was heading completely the wrong way in life and so she asked God and her family for forgiveness and through that, her faith, trust and reliance on God grew to a whole new level and she was able to get her life back on track. By the following year she had risen out of her slump completely and was back on track with her netball as well and with that, worked really hard to eventually make the National team and amazingly, the first person who saw her play on the day was the former coach who 2 years previously had left her feeling so unwanted.

Since that time there have been ups and downs on the way to achieving all the accolades we’ve written about but through the good and the bad Charmaine has said her faith has remained strong. Charmaine’s final message for you guys and any other children that feel they are forgotten was this, She said, “The only opinion that matters about you is the one you have about yourself, as you can always change other opinions about you. God has a perfect plan for you and  if ever you’re not chosen for something or  seen as good enough, then it’s just not your time yet and you have to know that and just trust and remember that whatever happens, even if you lose your way, God will always be there and he’ll always welcome you with open arms”.

It’s an amazing story and as to the rest of her Netballing journey, Charmaine will now look forward to another upcoming World Series in October and so as one big family we’ll be counting down the days with her till then, to see exactly what she has in store for the rest of the World