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Focus On ... Netball

How a development drive can "change the game"

Netball Scotland’s vision is to make netball the first-choice sport for women and girls in Scotland.

In their own words they are “changing the game” and wherever you look there is something happening.

The governing body is focusing on making netball accessible at every level on the back of the Sirens’ successful debut season as Scotland’s only semi-professional female sports team, as well as:

  • The introduction of Walking Netball
  • InstaNet
  • The continual development of Bounce Back to Netball
  • The recent launch of Sirens for Success.

Netball is a firm part of our sporting landscape with more than 6,500 members and around 20,000 participants in Scottish schools. Netball Scotland CEO Claire Nelson told us what she thinks is driving the rise of the sport:

“We are right in the middle of an incredibly exciting time for netball in Scotland. The recent success of the Scottish Thistles at the 2017 Netball Europe Championships in Cardiff, as well as the incredible support for the Sirens team from girls and women across the country, have helped to raise the profile of netball even further.

“We want to make sure that every woman and girl across the country has the opportunity to play netball, whatever their age, whatever their ability.”  

Blazing a trail

One of the initiatives that is bringing netball to girls who don’t have sport in their lives is the Sirens for Success programme. Netball Scotland’s development drive stems from a commitment to engage, empower and inspire women and girls across Scotland, and Sirens for Success delivers on all three counts.

Sirens netballWorking in partnership with Glasgow Sport, the programme is led by Sirens and Scottish Thistles captain Claire Brownie, who is working across secondary schools in the city to encourage the inactive and disengaged to become active and engaged using netball as a vehicle for change.

Going straight to the root of many of the issues facing Scotland’s young girls and addressing some of the barriers to participation, this initiative offers participants the chance to gain knowledge and understanding of netball while developing essential communication and organisational skills.

Claire says: “We are determined to give girls from all backgrounds a chance to take part in netball and this allows us to take netball to girls who don’t currently take part in sport.

“It is incredible to see their enthusiasm for the game once they get involved and to be part of their journey in improving their understanding of the benefits of sport and physical activity.”

Out in the open

Sirens for Success consists of a workshop-based approach over six weekly two-hour visits. The first educational workshop is delivered to 12-15-year-olds and aims to break down some of the barriers to girls’ participation in sport by highlighting them and bringing them out in to the open.

Sirens for SuccessCovering topics such as nutrition, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, resilience and body image, these sessions are an opportunity to share information, develop the girls’ knowledge and give them a chance to reflect on how these issues apply to them on a personal level.

Encouraging the girls to overcome the barriers, the educational workshop is followed by a physical session with an emphasis on participation and fun as well as teamwork.

The second session is aimed at 16-18-year-old pupils, giving them an opportunity to gain a Netball Leaders Award, an excellent example of sport developing leadership skills for young people.

To showcase the personal growth and skills development of each group, at the end of the school term, the school is invited to participate in a Sirens Netball festival where the Netball Leaders take the school teams and help officiate on the day. To add excitement, Netball Scotland throw in prizes including free tickets to Sirens games.

Sustainability and accessibility are at the heart of Netball Scotland’s plans and Sirens for Success demonstrates what this looks like in practice. While it is still in the early stages of development, feedback is positive and Netball Scotland will continue to watch it closely for rollout potential and continuous improvement.

Find out more

For more information about getting involved in netball, visit the Netball Scotland website.  


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