4 May 2017

Starting Netball as an Adult

I thought I'd write a mini series of posts on hobbies and starting hobbies as an adult. I know for me, when I finished studying and moved back in with my parents after university, I was a bit lost. I was trying to get a job and move out, my friends weren't around anymore as we'd all gone off to all over the country for uni. I started exploring new ways to make friends as an adult which is surprisingly hard. I thought I'd share some of my ideas for hobbies I've developed over the past 6 years. The first one is getting into netball!



Getting into my late 20s, I've started playing netball for the first time ever! After I had my spine fused  at 16, I was really scared to do exercise in case I damaged myself. However this time last year I finally joined a gym. I was finally doing exercise and actually enjoying it. In Autumn last year, one of my friends, Marie, told me about her netball team.

I'd played a little netball in school back when I was about 10 years old, but not really done much after that. Once I'd had my back operation, I thought organised sport was off the table for me. However, Marie introduced me to her netball team and I went along to a couple of practices. It was SO nerve-wracking to go along and meet all the girls, who had mostly been playing continuously since leaving school and were amazing. However they were really lovely and supportive and really helped coach me gently into learning the rules and remembering how to play. This is me after a training session!



I signed up to the team after a few practices with trepidation. We play for a Royal Navy affiliated team, and started going along to matches thinking I would be watching. The team were short of players, so I was thrown into the deep end of competing almost straight away. Luckily with their kindness and shouting at me from the sides, I managed to get by and quickly learnt how to play. I think playing matches really helped me learn on the go. I also felt less guilty that I wasn't great, because they reminded me that without me there, they were a player short! A rubbish player has to be better than none at all!

Through their training and matches I've learnt to "be more mean" (that's what I get shouted at me each week!). At 5'9" I'm pretty tall, so I tend to play in the goal ends where there is a bit more shoving, defending, attacking... you have to be tough. Initially I felt really uncomfortable pressing my body into a goal shooter to keep them away from the goal post, or pressuring the goal attack out of the half circle. Now I'm slowly getting more attacking and enjoy learning how to play each position (except centre and any of the wings... I'm too gangly and slow for those!)


All in all, I love it. I still get a little nervous before matches but I absolutely love it. It's so exciting to go down and play, even when we're on a losing streak. We have a little whatsapp group and so much chat goes on there. We also have in-jokes and all the other aspects of "belonging" which I love about the team. I look forward to meeting the girls on the court each week, and going out together outside of matches


Now I'm an affiliated England Netball player, I've discovered it's a thriving network, with clubs in most towns and leagues of adult women wanting to play. They are hugely passionate about promoting the game and getting more women into playing beyond school years. You can start with the Back to Netball scheme as a gentle re-introduction, or you can go to one off coaching sessions with Netball Now. Beyond that, google for your local netball league and see if you can join a team, or help out teams without enough players as a floater. Finally, older people with less athletic ability can start Walking Netball. Give it a go!
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2 comments

  1. I joined a local team but then wimped out ever actually going - silly me! Good for you :)

    Sophie xx

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