Remember the fun of netball as a kid? Half-time orange slices and screaming UP AND IN! and HERE IF YOU NEED! at your friends before rallying around to high five each other after a goal was shot? Same. Ahhh, sweet memories. Your kid wants to play netball too? SCORE!

Not going to lie, I’m a netball mum and I really do love it. Sure, the early Saturday mornings can be a little grumbly sometimes but when I see just how happy my kid is to head out, join her mates and throw a ball around – I’m right there with her in her joy. Albeit with a strong coffee. And maybe a cup of hot chips. And I love catching up with the other netball mums every week.

An important lesson for all – sport isn’t always about winning. It’s about participation and being part of a wider community. Team sports ARE awesome, and not just for the player, but for the whole family. Supportive spectators are always welcome to cheer and clap players on.

Netball 101 – What You Need To Know

Things have changed a little since I played netball *cough* thirty-ish years ago, but rest assured that while it might have of been quite some time since I donned a position bib (I see you wing attack), I can still remember the fun I had while playing.

What is PLAY Netball?

Netball Australia is keen as mustard to spread the netball joy from one generation to the next and to see more people on the court having fun while playing a netty game. PLAY Netball is a superb platform to discover just what netball opportunities are around. Not just competitive games, but LOADS of social, fun games too. It’s definitely worth checking out!

Wait. Isn’t netball just for girls?

Absolutely not. Gone are the days where netball courts were dominated by girls. More and more boys are joining local clubs and forming mixed teams, which is wonderful. Hooray for all-inclusive fun!

PLAY Netball
Netball fun is for EVERYONE! Photo: supplied

Can my 5-year-old play netball or is that too young?

Five is a fantastic age to start playing netball! Suncorp NetSetGO is Australia’s official starter program for kids aged between 5 and 10. NetSetGO is PERFECT for learning all the basics from scratch – confidently catching a ball, netball drills and trying out all the netball positions. It’s all about having FUN. Furthermore, NetSetGO is brilliant for parents who have no netball experience either – you too can learn all the ins and outs of the sport with the kids!

My kid isn’t great at making friends, will a team sport help with that?

This is the thing about netball, it’s fantastic for building important social skills. Kids quickly learn to work together as a TEAM to get the ball successfully up and down the court. As a result, they make new friends and grow their social confidence. I for one can say I watched my own daughter flourish on the court and make life-long friends from playing netball.

What’s so good about netball?

Let me count the ways! Firstly, it’s FUN! Secondly, netball is a terrific way to keep kids active, develop lightning-quick hand-eye coordination and learn about team participation. And for parents, it’s terrific for getting to know other parents and support your kids doing something they love. Finally, netball tires kids out and they sleep well! #whatmorecouldyouaskfor

PLAY Netball
When netball team buddies become life-long friends Photo: supplied

What if my wannabe netballer worries about making mistakes?

Loads of kids worry about making mistakes. It’s normal. We know netball is great for building hand-eye coordination. But what’s even more awesome is that the sport teaches kids core values that will stay with them their whole life. They are challenged to do something they have never tried before. They learn that practice and persistence will make them better players. And they build resilience.

When kids play netball they have a safe space where they can make mistakes and try again until they get it right. The coaches offer feedback in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are in trouble. Or not good enough. The kids feel like they have a fair chance to learn a new skill and their self-esteem flourishes with every hard-fought success. They aren’t just netball coaches – they really are life-skills coaches.

Is netball an expensive sport?

Nope, there’s no selling of a kidney required. Depending on your club, a netball uniform might be required and there are registration fees, but that’s generally it! Do check if your state offers sport vouchers for primary school children to help cover the registration cost.

Play netball
Kids learn confidence through team sports. Photo: Supplied

How do I start or find my local club?

Finding your local club is EASY. Head to PLAY Netball and have a look where your little netballer fits. Finding the right way to play is important.

There’s NetSetGO for the aged under 10 crowd and older kids (aged 11 to 17) can participate in Junior Comp, where the action is a little more competitive or Rock Up Netball (ages 14+) which is kept fun and casual. There are ‘sign up today’ buttons on the PLAY Netball site to help you find local clubs to join. Just pop in your postcode and it will give you the details of your local club.

What about mums and dads? Can we play?

If all this chat of netball has reignited the fiery belly of a past goal shooter within, it’s NEVER too late to make a netball comeback. There’s plenty of senior netball being played – either competitively or for social fun. Consider social Fast5 Netball or if you can rope some friends in, register a team for NetFest and get ready to defend, attack, yell ALL YOURS! REBOUND! SWITCH!

Similarly, if you’re not keen to get back on the ACTUAL court to play (and let’s face it, that’ll be many of us), there’s always a call for volunteers. You can still play an active role in the netball community without putting on a netball uniform (coaches, umpires, timekeepers, scorers, quarter-time snack giver-outer – and your team will thank you for it!)

PLAY Netball
Be active and get involved with kids netball! Photo: supplied

With all that said, why not gather the kids and give netball a go? The ball’s in your court! Head to PLAY Netball (just hit the Find Out More button below!) to discover the world of active fun that awaits.

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This is a sponsored post for Netball Australia.

Author

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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