5 of the best ways to start playing netball
Netball is booming in the UK at the moment – and if you want to get on the bandwagon, we'll show you how.
Netball has never been more popular, with record levels of participation across the UK. Hundreds of thousands of players unleash their competitive side and take to the court week in, week out. If you’re interested in being one of them, but don’t know where to start, we’ll point you in the right direction.
1. Join a club
Whether you’ve relocated, haven’t played since school or yearn for that team atmosphere you had at university, joining a club could be the answer.
Most clubs have training sessions during the week and games every weekend (or every alternate weekend depending on which league you end up playing in). Joining a club is a greater commitment than other types of netball, but it reaps rewards in other ways. You can hone those ball skills during training sessions and also enjoy the social aspect of seeing the same team twice every week. #SquadGoals indeed.
To find out about the clubs near you, go to Netball Squad which has an interactive map, or England Netball which has a useful search tool. Trials for teams typically take place between August and September, and again in December. Most clubs will happily accept players at other times of year too – just contact them to find out.
Once you’ve whittled it down to a few clubs, the best way to pick between them is to go along and see what you make of the training – does it fit the standard you’d like to play at? Also, check out their social media and see if you like the look of the club, their training and, of course, the socials. Each club will have information on which leagues they play in; if you want to take the game seriously and work your way up to regional or Premier League netball (the highest level of club netball in the UK), then join a club with a Prem team so you can train with those players week-in, week-out. Finally, get the kit – and enjoy being part of a team!
2. Try walking netball
If you’re not as nifty as you used to be, or if you’re easing your way back from injury, walking netball could be the answer. The format is exactly as it says on the tin – it’s the beloved game, taken at a slower pace and with modified rules. These include four-second ball possession (instead of three seconds in the traditional game) and having to have one foot in contact with the court at all times.
3. Sign up to the Back to Netball initiative
England Netball weren’t messing around when they named Back to Netball either – like walking netball, the name leaves little to the imagination. If you haven’t played the game in a long time and you don’t feel ready to join a club yet, this is the answer. Coaches at Back to Netball will remind you of the rules (that pesky footwork for one), and ease you back into it, leaving you ready to join a club if you’d like to, or simply keep up the Back to Netball.
4. Play in a casual league
If you don’t have the time to commit to training every week and you just want to play a game, joining a casual league is ideal. The best websites to look at are Powerplay and Go Mammoth. You can join on your own or with friends. And if you don’t want to play every week, you can sign up as a ringer instead. This means that every time a team has a player missing, you’ll be called upon to fill up the spot.
5. Set up your own team
Have you got six friends who you think would make the ultimate squad, or work mates who are looking to bring out their competitive side? Then why not set up your own team? You can get creative picking a name and it’s a great way to get to know your friends or colleagues even better. England Netball even has a helpful guide on how you can do this, including the nitty-gritty like how to book a sports hall.
Whichever way you decide to start playing netball, tie up those laces and wear that bib with pride!