Netball is a sport which evokes memories for a lot of us, mainly from our school days where it would often be a go-to choice for PE or as part of the school team. However, netball spent many years in the shadow of other mainstream sports which often left it overlooked, with rounders, football and tennis all seemingly being the untouchable trio of sport choices. In recent years though, netball has become hugely popular and offers many benefits to all.
In 2018 the England netball team inspired a nation. Tracey Neville’s previously unfancied team overcame all the odds to beat recurring winners Australia to claim the Commonwealth gold, and in the process, expose millions to how great netball can be! The effects of this victory were huge, with never before seen media coverage for netball helping interested viewers at home to keep up to date with the successful journey of the team. This exposure for the game has led to a recent boom in netball, with 80% more people taking part in ‘Back to Netball’ (England Netball’s flagship scheme), and why wouldn’t they, especially with the array of benefits participating in netball can give!
The benefits of participating in netball are wide ranging and can be split into three sections…
Participating in netball improves an individual’s cardiovascular endurance (fitness), as the game itself requires players to jog, sprint and be able to change direction quickly. The most important skill that school children will improve through netball is their co-ordination, as the constant passing and catching improves hand-eye co-ordination which can be used in various other sports, hopefully encouraging a more physically active lifestyle.
As netball is a team sport, it provides an opportunity for children and adults to meet new friends and learn how to work and co-operate with others. In the sport, the aim is to successfully attack, defend and score points, which naturally teaches children to work together to produce a successful result. Working as part of a team also helps improve confidence in social situations, and these skills gained are transferable to all sports and aspects of life.
One of the main benefits of netball compared to other sports is how cheap it can be to participate. For individuals, all you need is netball clothing and footwear. For a school that has never played netball before, the game can be played on a court with two netball posts, a netball and a set of bibs. When you compare this to other mainstream sports such as football, where thousands of pounds worth of equipment is required, it is inexpensive and easy to set up!
So why not mix it up and give netball a go? With its increasing popularity and long list of benefits, it could make a big difference to you.
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