Netball is one of those sports you just can’t play on your own. For a full match you need 14 players and an umpire. It can be played ‘5 aside’ too, but that’s still 10 players – and the umpire!
For many of us, the last chance we had to play netball was at school. There are teams and leagues across the country, of course, but most of us struggle to fit exercise and fitness into our day. Not to mention, lots of us are also secretly afraid we’re not good enough, and we’ll just embarrass ourselves if we try to join a team. Especially if we’re not currently that fit and fear that we’ll be slower or less coordinated than everyone else.
So we don’t join the clubs and the years go by, netball becomes a school memory. This is a real shame, because lots of us really enjoyed netball at school. And it’s brilliant exercise, when you’re playing, you can’t help but run around; short sprints and quick changes of direction. It’s a great cardio workout to help improve fitness, strength and agility.
In addition, netball is great for hand-eye coordination and strategic thinking. The restricted movement of the various netball player positions means you have to work as a team. As with all sports, it’s also great for mental health. It helps improve mood, reduce stress, and aids concentration.
I’d wondered for a while about staff netball at NTU. Staff sports are great because they fit into the working day and give us all a chance to meet people from different departments in an informal and fun setting.
NTU staff are a friendly and diverse bunch, so there’s not so much fear of not fitting in, as there might be with joining a team of total strangers. Plus, there are more than enough people to play a full netball match. So when I spotted NTU Sport at a stand in Newton during a well-being event, I decided to ask them about it.
Their response was that if I could get enough people interested, we could have our staff netball!
It all started with two of us – myself and my manager Sophie Kaye – and the support of NTU Sport through Jack Ketton. We got a great response to our initial emails to colleagues, we had 13 players at the first session and new people are coming on board all the time.
Hardly any of us have played netball recently, and lots of us were apprehensive. Would we look silly? Would we remember the rules? Would everyone else be better and faster than us? But we needn’t have worried, it was nothing but fun, and a great workout!
We were blessed with some first session guidance from Netball Scholar, Suzanne Armstrong, who was fabulous, and we found that we all remembered how to play!
“Having not played Netball in over 10 years, I was a little nervous. But everyone has been so friendly and a lot of people are in the same boat. I now look forward to Monday lunch times!”
– Lizzie Goates, Development Services Assistant, Development and Alumni Relations Office
“I hadn’t played the game since school so I was a little apprehensive, but knew I wanted to try it again and get some exercise. The sessions have been really fun and it has also been a good way to get to know other members of staff from across the university. I now look forward to attending each Monday.”
– Catherine Hancock, Junior Press Officer, Marketing Services
“I joined staff netball apprehensively, having not played since school, 16 years ago! I was very rusty, but it was amazing how quickly the rules came flooding back! It was great fun, I got to meet people from other departments, and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would – I definitely plan to make it a weekly activity!”
– Laura McAdam, Alumni Relations Assistant, Development and Alumni Relations Office
There will now be staff netball every Monday, from 12-1. New players are very welcome. We’ve found a happy place for some real competitive spirit when we play our match, balanced with lots of fun, rediscovering something we’d enjoyed years ago – together, with no judgement.
And, it’s good for us! I am delighted that working at NTU means we have the facility to take part in team sports – and I encourage everyone to consider looking at the schedule and finding the sport for them!
Contributor: Rebecca Morris-Buck, Alumni Relations Coordinator