Active sport

England Netball, the national governing body for Netball in England, is responsible for promoting netball as a way to have an active lifestyle. “Netball is classed as an England priority sport” (Lisa Wainright, Netball magazine, 2005, See appendix) Because of this, Sport England have put money into netball to initiate many new schemes to boost participation levels further. Sport England and England Netball have introduced High 5 netball into primary schools to develop key skills from an early age. It is a versatility setup with roles for timekeeping and scorer.

The national squad have many sponsors, which allow for specialist coaches and facilities, (Full listings in appendix). In my local area “Newbury” there is one junior club (U11-U16). Funding comes from fees, paid by players. This money goes towards court hire and coach hire for transport to tournaments. Two years ago the U16’s changed kit tops from jade to white, this was funded by sponsorship from a local Orthopaedic company, Forth Medical. So teams can find fund for themselves. As well as the junior teams, there are many adult teams who compete at three levels in a League.

Teams often find sponsorship from bars, restaurants and other local businesses. Again however, fees are paid each months/ season for court hire for matches. (See appendix for figures) Berkshire Sports Partnership works to help the people of Berkshire to start, stay and succeed in sport and physical activity at every level. They will often sponsor people to take qualification courses in coaching and umpiring, especially since the price has increased to around i?? 170 for a level 1 assistance course, due to and All England take over to improve competition at all levels and to develop talent.

Up until this year, “Newbury Juniors” used to hold trials. This year they held drop in sessions where players could come and see if they would be interested and would enjoy it. This was stared because participation was beginning to fall at U16 level especially, if you weren’t selected then you had nowhere else to play; a real demotivator for those just wanting to be active. A National Framework for Young people has been set up to create high quality competition at school and club level and to identify talent to help with development, which will form a “Talent Ladder”.

Managers have been appointed to implement the scheme into schools within the School Sport Partnership. The scheme is child-centred so that the children gain the benefits of playing Netball. The competition is being made more high profile in schools so that everyone can participate and to aid the development of talent. Training coaches and umpires helps these schemes; this makes the scheme sustainable. The Young Netball Organisers award, for older students, accompanies this as an introduction to those who are interested in coaching and umpiring netball.

The 2006/7 Season is the first to include the new changes that England Netball have made to improve the competition and talent development of players. Stage 1 teaches the basics to girl’s aged 10-11, who are not yet club members; it aims to develop skills. This is then taken to Club development, which will provide regular coaching with accredited clubs. They will comply with active sports minimum requirements: to give safe play and equal opportunities in Netball. It is assisted to develop coaching competition and social activities.

Stage 3 is an assessment level. Players are continuously assessed at local schools, centres and clubs and are keen to develop further. There is a specific criteria for assessment. In Primary schools, children play High 5 netball, and at secondary school the full 7-a-side game both curricular and extra curricular. This year there is no county Netball, it is too expensive to run and it doesn’t develop talent of those who just missed out on a place. The new set up is a 10-year development programme for committed athletes to improve standard.

The levels are shown in the diagram, players work up the ladder and ultimately make a national squad. (For details of the criteria at each stage see appendix) England netball rules state that High 5 netball should b the only netball for primary schools; teams can be female, male and mixed. In secondary school boys can play netball, but only in curriculum time, and they must be under qualified teacher supervision. Ian Root used to coach the England Netball Men’s National Squad. He was concerned with the development of men’s netball.

Although the men’s team played internationally, the sport is very low profile. In Newbury there is a small opportunity in primary school High 5 tournaments. At Park House full course GCSE PE students do a 6-lesson netball session, this is mixed. But, from the age of 11 and up, there is no real opportunity for men to play netball. Girls can play competitively for primary and secondary school and then club from age 11 and upward, starting at Newbury Juniors then progressing to adult teams. England Netball launched the national Disability development plan in 1996.

It allows participants to not only play, but also opportunities for coaching, umpiring and other official positions. It also focuses on providing awareness of coaches to ensure that disabled people can enjoy a high standard of netball. In Newbury there is very little for disabled participants. There is a school for the deaf where specially qualified teachers can aid the development of deaf players. However there are ideas to bring specialty coaching into Berkshire, through Berkshire Sports Partnership and England Netball Funding.

In this investigation into Netball nationally and how is compares to my local area, Newbury. I have found that England Netball have initiated schemes and they are promoting netball as a sport for all. Netball participation levels have increased as the sport has become more popular. This could be because of the Bronze medal the national team won earlier this year at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. I have discovered that because Newbury is only a small area, not all opportunities are available; to participate you would have to travel quite far, especially at Level 2 after Satellite.

In Newbury there is not very much funding, it tends to come from fees and individual team sponsorship deals, whereas nationally a huge amount is being put into promoting netball as an Active sport. There are qualification courses available too, which will promote a higher standard of netball at all ages. Overall Netball in Newbury is good for the size of the town; there are many opportunities for females, yet none for males unless in curriculum time. The disabled provision is for deaf children, this will only improve if there is sufficient demand, of which there is not.

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