Renew You Blogs

As we embark on a brand new year, it's only natural for many people to want to get back into exercise, but the gym isn't for everyone!

Back to Netball has been running all across the country since 2010 and it's been established as the perfect option for regaining fitness for over 60,000 women.

Our campaign Renew You is back for 2016 and falls in perfectly with all those new years resolutions you'd love to keep!

To get you motivated to take to a netball court and realise all of the benefits involved in doing so, we're going to hear from some of our wonderful participants.

Back to Netball has changed their lives and it can yours too...

Week 4 Blogs...

Alison week 4:

"Vitality..."

Last Saturday I met Kim, my partner in crime, at the Copperbox, Olympic Park. We changed into our pink Vitality T-shirt for the Back to Netball afternoon & off we went! England may have been playing Australia but there were 40 women of all ages & abilities hungry for netball. We had a fun warm up and began training covering footwork, passing & shooting.

At this point we had the privilege to meet Helen Housby, Lindsay Keable & Natalie Haythornthwaite, all players in the England team, who were happy to pass on some of their knowledge. They participated in some of our training & our Kim even beat Helen in one of the games!! Then it was time for the tournament... marking a young whipper snapper as a WD was definitely not my intention, I had never played that position in my life plus who wants to play against someone half their age so at half time was willing to pass my vest to one of the spare team players.

As I was walking to the side, taking off my vest, one of the girls said nooo keep it on, when will you ever get the opportunity to play here again? Her words resonated in my head & I found myself leaving my vest on & doing an about turn in time for the second half. Killed me but I did it & loved it ha ha!! I had the pleasure of meeting my fellow blogger Carol too!

I knew Sky TV were filming and their screening was Sunday night and a friend of mine recorded it. She called me with a commentary of what was going on until I could view it myself, all of a sudden she screeched “There you a... oh no now you're gone” Ha ha!! Thankfully I only made it on screen for less than a nano second.

So Monday comes around & it's my regular netball session, warm ups & a throwing practice which if we weren't so controlled & amazingly fantastic long distance throwers could have involved the paramedics!!! Time for a game & as I had done so well in 2 thirds on Saturday picked up the GA vest - Al was back and Sophie smiled!!

My goal for the year is to attend netball practice every Monday & should the possibility of a Thursday night practice come to fruition, attend that too.  It helps me physically & mentally & I love it!

Steph week 4:

“Mum, I’m on the Telly!”

This week has been like no other week I’ve ever experienced. Towards the back end of last week our walking netball coach Mo Squires received a rather exciting email. Sky Sports wanted to come along to one of our sessions and film Walking Netball as part of their January netball month programming. Well you can imagine the excitement we all had which for me was quickly followed by nerves – “What if I do or say something stupid on Telly, or even worse… fall flat on my bum and it be caught on film?!”

Tuesday’s session came round quickly and I don’t think I’m alone when I say I spent a little longer than usual picking out my training gear and putting my hair up, well… its not every day you could be on TV!

At the session, you could feel the excitement from everyone. The camera man set up his camera and the interviewer and Carly from England Netball got themselves ready as we all did our usual warm up before taking to the court. Suddenly, I felt that rush of nerves I used to get right before the start of an important league game and in my head I’m saying “Please don’t fall over, please don’t fall over”.

After a bit of rocky start (there was a lot of running here and there) we all relaxed into it and we got our strides back. I was honoured to be asked to do a 1 on 1 interview with Sky along with 2 other of our ladies; Ali and Shelia (pictured). Ali has had 2 full knee replacements and through Walking Netball, is able to continue to play sports. Shelia retired from netball a long time ago and… well if I looked half as good as she does by the time I’m her age I will be laughing!

As the weeks go by, more and more of the ladies open up to what made them come along to Walking Netball. We have quite a few who, like me, are unable to play anymore due to injury, a few who retired from the sport because of family or age and some who have never played before and just want to give it ago.

So, looking to the future. What does 2016 hold for me? Well besides continuing my Monday night Yoga with mum and Tuesday’s Walking Netball session with the lovely Swindon ladies, my focus will be getting as strong as I can and keep working on my fitness.

Walking Netball has allowed me to stay connected to the sport I love and who knows, maybe one day we’ll have enough to teams from all over country to start our own league. Watch this space!

Carol week 4:

"I couldn’t take my eyes off  Sasha Corbin as I normally play WA."

What an amazing start to the weekend!

On Friday myself and a few ladies from team Fusion went along to watch England verses Australia at the Copper Box in Stratford.

What a great atmosphere, being in an arena full of people who share the same passion for netball as me.

What a great match but a little disappointed that England lost after they worked so hard .

I could see my team members including me, watching to see if we could pick up any tips from the players for the positions that they would  normally play that we could take to our Back To Netball session and give them a go. I couldn’t take my eyes off  Sasha Corbin as I normally play WA.

Saturday was the day we had all been waiting for. Myself and 39 others were selected to attend a Vitality Back To Netball Festival. We were given the opportunity to play at the Copperbox and have a coaching session with three of the England Netball players.

This was all going to be filmed by Sky and would be shown before Sunday’s final match

I was one of the 60,000 people who’ve joined the Back to Netball scheme chosen for this amazing opportunity! I couldn’t believe it.

The whole day was mind blowing, we were allowed to use the changing rooms, but not the one that the England team uses to change into our Vitality t-shirts , then went out onto that magnificent netball court.

We started with a fun workout with Back to Netball Coaches, I haven’t laughed so much in a long time.

Then just before we were ready to for our coaching session Helen Housby, Lindsay Keable and Natalie Haythornthwaite came running through to meet us all. Talk about star struck!

Such lovely down to earth ladies, they showed us some drills along with some shooting and attacking technics and even joined in a game of killer, no guesses who won that game then.

We all answered a few questions on why we chose Back to Netball as a form of exercise and how it has impacted on our lives. Maria’s (one of my fellow Back to Netballers) interview was televised on Sky TV just before the match.

Although England lost all three series it was the best weekend ever.

Week 3 Blogs...

Sarah-Jane week 3:

"I was comforted to see there was a real mixture of ladies there"

I was thinking over the weekend about how playing netball again has brought so many fabulous things into my life... from tentatively attending a few Back to Netball sessions about 18 months ago (and loving them), to being captain of a fantastic team made up of Ladies from my community and all of the great fitness benefits it has brought me too. I remember when I first went along to a B2N session at a local school sports hall, I was so nervous, I was quite unfit at the time and overweight and also really scared about the fact I couldn’t remember any netball rule apart from you could pivot on your landing foot! 

I was comforted to see there was a real mixture of ladies there, all ages, shapes and sizes and I was put at ease with the nice atmosphere right away, after some fun netball drills and a good warm up we were playing netball and I felt like it all came flooding back to me!  Within 20 minutes I was grabbing a shooter bib and having a go!  I absolutely loved it!  I went home buzzing and immediately searched on the internet for more sessions I could attend and realised I could literally play netball 2-3 times a week at these sessions if I wanted to – brilliant!

Not long after I found the Back to Netball sessions, a few Ladies from the Great Park area in Newcastle started a new netball session at the local Community Centre, playing on the outside court and before long, there were two sessions a week and around 15 regulars turned up.  We decided to form a proper squad last spring and by September we had our brand new netball dresses, an amazing coach (Gemma Sandberg my first B2N host!) and were giddy and excited about playing in our first official social league! 

We have two teams at the moment and are hoping to extend to three this year – we’ve all become great friends and have done so well in the first season of the league, currently in first and second place on the league table!  Here’s another post-match selfie from the Black Team as we beat our goal record last week of 39, final score was 43-10 – we were over the moon.

Apart from netball, the main thing that makes me happy is my lovely little family and I thought I’d share a picture of our new puppy Luna who has certainly been keeping us busy since she arrived just before Christmas.

She’s a Cockapoo and is completely nuts – all of the netball girls knew we were getting her as a surprise for our 7 year old Daughter and all kept the secret with me, they were almost as excited as me the day we gave her to Daisy :)

Alison week 3:

"The word is out... netball is the new gym!"

Because of Alex's illness, at the moment I am in between jobs so I find it really easy to fit my netball sessions in but on every job consideration I always think of how will it fit in with getting to netball rather than how will my netball fit in with the job ha ha!!

It's Monday, netball is on!! As Sophie, our coach, asked us to spread out for warm up we seemed to move further and further down the hall.  As I looked along the line, wow there were loads of us!

After warm up we kicked off with being split into 2 teams & being numbered 1-10 on each side. Sophie called out 4 numbers & we were to run onto court & play but able to incorporate our team mates outside court but who had to stay outside court. Confused??  Yeah we were .......How many people forgot what their numbers were?? errr too many ha ha and you can't exactly play with only 2 members of the same sid!! We got it in the end!!

We had enough for 3 teams so we were going to be on & off the court making sure everyone had a game. OMG how are we going to remember everyone's name - arrrgghhh - one consolation, we have 3 Jo's & 'oi' seemed to be a good call!!!  Outside the temperatures had dropped a little but on court our passion was still hot, hot, hot!!  Our pace was a little more controlled this week, we had obviously tamed our excitement from the previous week. We were in full swing but hey that's not good enough for Sophie, as per usual she blows the whistle, asks us if we want to work harder & throws an extra ball into the mix, oh my lordy you should have seen the faces ha ha especially when there were 2 balls in the same third - pandemonium & laughter!! As always cool down comes around far too soon!!

My task for this week was to include an additional 30 minutes of netball so I have agreed to play at the Vitality Back to Netball day at the Copperbox, Olympic Park this Saturday - oh dear what have I let myself in for - there's going to be an audience & I'm going to be huffing & puffing & probably very red in the face.  Not sure the England team members will be too impressed but I have the enthusiasm & that's what counts - in my eyes anyway ha ha!!

I have to say that Sky TV will be there too!! Camera, please be kind & don't add on any more weight, one of the reasons I am at netball is to reduce my waistline not expand it!!

Can I just say that I love our coach Sophie. She really is amazing with her teaching ability & believes in us, no matter what age or level.  She makes us work hard in our training sessions but always in an enjoyable way. She makes the sessions, so I come back week after week.

PS : After informing people of my public commitment to netball at the Copperbox somebody mistook me for being one of the super heroes on super Saturday - I seriously laughed out loud, she got the dates wrong & so I corrected her very quickly that I would actually be Little Miss Calamity on the Saturday before!! Ha ha!!

Carol week 3:

"Another great week of Netball for me!"

Monday was yet another great win for Team Fusion, I really think that we are on a roll, final score 23-11 as the weeks go on the games are getting harder and harder but we are loving this new challenge.

Tuesday was with my beloved team Wildcats. We seem to be following the trend of losing every week, but sometimes it’s not just about the  winning ,it’s the taking part and the great friendships that we make.

So sadly we finished bottom of our league so no match next week, but I’m sure we’ll fill that time with a social evening out somewhere.

Back To Netball Wednesday session. I’m in the mood to work hard at those drills tonight as I still have some more weight to lose and netball is such a calorie burner beats the gym hands down for me.

Really looking forward to Friday, watching England verses Australia at the Copperbox with my team members.

Come on England!

Steph week 3:

“90 Minute Challenge”

As part of the celebrations for its 90th birthday, England Netball posed a challenge this week of doing at least 90 minutes of netball related activity. “Easy” I thought. “You want me to spend at least 90 minutes doing something I enjoy? – Challenge accepted”.

The week started out as any normal week. I was introduced to Monday night Yoga by my Mum about 2 years ago as a way of aiding fitness when I wasn’t able to run or play due to my injuries. I find it helps keep my core strong as well as improve my flexibility. But you can’t really count Yoga as a “netball related” activity so 1 day of the week done and I was still at 0 minutes. However, Tuesday is my walking netball training night and not only will this bank me 60 minutes of netball, it also banks 60 minutes of fun and laughter with a great group of ladies. 

We had big turn out this week at walking netball with the numbers meaning we had enough for 4 teams. After a desperate attempt to warm up our hands and bodies quickly (it was freezing), Mo gathered us round for a quick discussion and then we took the court. A bit of a slow start due to the cold conditions but it didn’t take long for the laughter to start. Part of the reasons I enjoy these sessions so much is that it also gives people the opportunity to play positions they ordinarily wouldn’t play. As much as I try… I still can’t shoot! I’ll stick to centre court I think.

60 minutes down, 30 more to go but before I knew it, it was Friday - “How is it Friday already?” Whilst on the early train to London for work, I sent a quick email to a good friend of mine, Kelly Morgan. 

Kelly and I used to play together and she has since hung up her netball trainers in favour for boxing gloves. Kelly was one of those people on the netball court who was so strong and quick, if you weren’t concentrating when she threw the ball to you, it was likely to either break your face or your fingers. 

I remember one match our GS actually ducked! Now with her new challenge of Boxing, in a short space of time Kelly has turned pro, gone unbeaten and is now ranked world number 2 of her weight division. She will soon be challenging for the title match and our entire netball family are so proud of her accomplishments – TEAM MORGAN!

Kelly obliged to help me so as Saturday rolled round she invited me down to her boxing gym. We spent the morning doing some quick netball drills followed by netball related rehab and balance exercises – another reminder that netball has not only given me a sport I love but some really great friends too.

Finally… 90 minutes completed.

Week 2 Blogs...

Sarah-Jane week 2:

"We always take a post-match selfie!"

My week was back to crazy busy workwise this week, lots of video conferences, calls and emails to get through, so it was great being able to play netball on three evenings for a bit of stress relief. Even if I’m feeling shattered early evening and considering not going to netball for one night so I can catch up on some more emails, I always feel so much better after I’ve been – it’s a fantastic stress reliever and burns off loads of calories too!

Monday night is our Back to Netball session and we had a new lady called Jules join us, a friend of one of the girls who had heard about our sessions and she was so lovely, most weeks we have new people coming along for an hour of fun netball, we don’t even keep score or umpire, we just warm up, do a couple of drills and then play, play, play – we have our own netball club facebook site to keep everyone posted about our sessions too.

So Wednesday was our first league game of the season, we were all super nervous and made sure we arrived at the venue well before the match started to warm up properly and have some team time together. I’m the captain of the team so I work out a team plan before the match dependent on who can come along and as there is 11 in our squad, we all usually take a turn on the side-lines, but actually it’s good having a little breather in between the match and also shouting encouragement to the girls. The first quarter was nail biting until the team settled into their rhythm and then we smashed it, 39-15, the other team were really nice and actually played a great match, but our team was on form and worked fantastically together – I couldn’t have been more proud! We always take a post-match selfie for the facebook site, hysterically we nearly always stand in the same spot for the selfie as well, shows how in tune we are I guess!

Thursday was our training night and as our fantastic coach Gemma is away at the moment hosting the Australian netball team (jealous much?!!!), Holly from our Team is training to be a qualified coach and she took the session, concentrating on accurate passing and using the full width of the court. We always end the session with a little bit of match play between our two teams which is fun and of course a good cool down at the end.

By Friday my legs were feeling a little achey, but unbelievably I managed to lose 3lbs and I’m not even dieting – that’s another reason why I love netball so much!

Alison week 2:

"She's back in the game!"

As I said in my first blog, my 2015 started off very badly. My 17 yr old daughter Alex, had been diagnosed with leukaemia the week before Christmas 2014 and the next 9 months had been a round of daily, weekly & monthly chemo. My baby fought it & won!! As she came to the end of her intense treatment, we were told that normal life should begin. She needed to get her life back on track but so did I. We had been joined at the hip for such a long time - good job she likes me - I needed to let go of her and had to find an outlet just for me. That's when I saw the advert on Facebook. Tick it off the list.  Hello netball!!!

My 2016 return to the netball court was 11th January and it just so happens that earlier in the day I was with Alex at the Macmillan Centre (everyone there is marvellous) for her maintenance treatment which is to keep the leukaemia away. We are on a different mental level there these days & so whenever I was asked what I was up to that week, I blurted out 'I'm going back to netball tonight' - I was so excited. The nurses laughed as Alex rolled her eyes to the ceiling - ha ha ha!!!

So excited, I even left home early... It was a joy to see all the girls again after the Christmas break & noticed a few new ones too, which is always great - the more the merrier!

Ok, warm up was going to let me know whether I had over done it on the Champers, Prosecco, Spiced Rum, Baileys, Feeneys oh & of course the Cider... hmmm not sure this is the right group I should be attending ha ha ha!! (Can I just point out that I don't drink the rest of the year... well not as much anyway!!!! ) And boy oh boy did I know that I hadn't exercised for several weeks but this year, this year I am definitely going to get slimmer & fitter & netball is going to help along the way.

We have fun trying to remember everyone's names, for some of us when you get to a certain age they just don't stick, so coach Sophie gave us a ball throwing practice incorporating calling out or in our case screeching out the intended catchers name.  Sophie never let's you play it simply - after 5 minutes she threw in another ball & mayhem ensued - ha ha ha!!! Funnily enough though, names stuck in my head!!

Time to play the game... Having learnt my lesson, Miss 'still unfit' here, chose the GS vest.  Take it easy Al, your time will come for the GA vest!!!

How enthusiastic were we... we were flying up & down the court like gazelles or perhaps not as we got told off straight away... our first game of the year was toooooooo fast - ha ha ha - footwork was a little sketchy, ball passing - rough & remembering the court markings was hilarious!!! As I watched from my end when the action was at the other end I loved it! I supported & laughed with enthusiasm as the whistle was blown several times.  Step in coach Sophie... now we have to catch the ball & touch the floor with the ball before we pass it on! Thanks Soph - ha ha!! Did we cope well, almost, did we forget, yeahhhhhhhh, did we laugh - of course we did!!!

The reason I come to this Back to Netball session is because I can exercise & smile at the same time.  I can play netball to my ability & not feel the rigid requirements of being part of a league team - not sure they'd accept me huffing & puffing but hey!  My Monday nights are fun, the cool down comes around way tooooooo fast & I laugh all the way home. Netball gets my endorphins going!!!

Carol week 2:

"Yet another fun filled netball week"

Monday equals team Fusion's first indoor social league match which is a team put together from ladies who attend Back to Netball at Streatham on a weekly basis. 

We're now ready to play on a weekly basis albeit with lots of nerves!! 

The nerves were really starting to kick in before the start of the match but a 29-4 win helped settle these.

Although our goal score was quite impressive, that was no way an easy match. Well done Team Fusion, roll on next Monday!

After Back to Netball got me hooked in I could literally play every night!

Tuesday's is also a netball night with Wildones and Wildcats of Balham, let's hope this is a winning week!

Steph week 2:

“No running allowed”

It’s always hard to get back to things following Christmas and New Year. I find it harder than returning from any other holiday or break. But walking netball started again this week and it wasn’t until I got to the session that I realised that I had really missed it.

Typically the weather took a nose dive in terms of temperature so base layers and thicker socks were called for. After spending the usual 5 minutes on my hands and knees scrabbling around in the under stairs cupboard for my trusty netball trainers and ankle supports (“Oh come on, where are you?”) I jumped in the car and made my way to the Dome.

The session itself was, as always, so much fun. Some new faces this week but the same usual laughter when someone gets caught out running - trust me it’s harder than it sounds when you’re chasing down a loose ball and all you can do it is hope you’ve got your speed walking skills down! As the weeks go on, the adjusted rules and no running does start to sink in. There were times during this week’s session that the play flowed so well you’d think we were teams who had been playing together for years. Then, all of sudden [*whistle blows*] “Running” calls the umpire and the whole group roll around in fits of laughter as the offending player says “Sorry, I just got too excited!”

It still surprises me how much of a work out Walking Netball is, so after I got home and took a shower it was time to sit and ice the joints. I’ve learnt over the years that for the sake of 15 minutes with a cold compress on my various ailments it saves waking up feeling stiff and achy the next day.

The rest of the week was spent back in the gym working on my general fitness and strength. Unfortunately for me, my eldest sister is a Physiotherapist so is often challenging me on whether or not I’ve done my exercise (she herself also suffers from injury and attends walking netball sessions when she can). I say “unfortunately” but in reality I’m very lucky to have her bugging me about it. It would be too easy for me to ignore her but then I go to walking netball and I’m reminded why I should be doing it.

Week 1 Blogs...

Sarah-Jane's Story:

"It was fab to see all of the girls again"

Wow, how quickly has January 2016 come around? In some ways I was secretly pleased to get back to normality on Monday after my daily average consumption of one cheese board and bottle of prosecco most days of the holidays was definitely taking its toll, it certainly felt nice having cereal for breakfast instead of one of my little girl’s Christmas selection boxes! Although I did manage some exercise during the holiday fortnight, our usual netball training wasn’t on and I really missed it! I missed the girls too, although one of our lovely ladies got married on 27th December at a beautiful venue in Northumberland called Linden Hall.

Work took a couple of days to get back to its manic usual state – I am a HR Director for Barclays Bank which I love and although I work between home in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Canary Wharf in London, the bank are great at giving me the autonomy to manage when I travel, so I work hard to make my career, family life and fitness all fit into one week in the best way I can, my other half is a Consultant at a local hospital so between us and our gorgeous 7 year old Daughter Daisy (and 1 dog, 1 NEW puppy and 4 cats) we juggle our work commitments so that we get time as a family and time to partake in our favourite fitness pastimes (mine – netball, him – running).

So sadly I missed our Monday Back to Netball session as my other half was on call, but I did make our Thursday Team Training Session which was great as our coach Gemma Sandberg decided to give us a particularly tough fitness circuits session before going into skills training and then match play.  It was fab to see all of the girls again and catch up on what we all got up to over the holidays since our Team Christmas Night out on the 21st December. Although there were a few groans after the fifteenth set of burpees, we all loved getting back together and can’t wait for our next league games of the season which start next week.

I’ve managed to recruit a few new players to come along to our Monday Back to Netball sessions over the holidays, so I’m looking forward to next week already, as I know they will love getting back into the game and meeting all of our lovely squad – netball helps me to de-stress from work, keep fit and the greatest thing it has brought me since I started playing again after a long break from the sport last year, is lots of fantastic new friends.

All of the Great Park Netball Team live within about 10 minutes of each other, we range from 16 years up to 44 years and we have become great friends over the past year. At the end of the month we are all travelling to Birmingham for a girls weekend and to watch the Super Saturday event for the Netball Super league – which thankfully co-incides with the end of ‘dry January’!

Alison's Story:

"A bit about me!"

2015 started off very badly for me, fortunately as the year went on things improved but I had already started to see things in a different light. I was going to hit the big five-o and I was not in the mental or physical position I had intended to be at this point. Something had to give. I had a list of things to do, a list that had been getting longer & longer over the years without anything being crossed off - I needed to start doing some of them!

Whilst I was scrolling through Facebook, imagine my delight at seeing an advert for Back to Netball. I grinned like a Cheshire cat. I loved netball as a child, as a teenager, even as an adult but hadn't played for about 10 years.  This was on my 'to do list' and there was nothing going to stop me from hitting the next training session.

As I drove up to the leisure centre for my first session, I can't explain how excited I was, it was a little ridiculous really for someone of my age but hey I was finally going to play netball again!  I was on my own, this was something for me & didn't need anyone else to come with me. I walked into the sports hall & was happily greeted by a group of women.  Not a bunch of youngsters who would be able to beat me hands down on a 100 metre sprint, although some of my netball buddies could possibly do that, but a bunch of ladies just like me. Women, with a passion to play a sport for some fun & exercise, without any pressure. Aged from roughly 28 to the oldest being moi - I had hit 50 by this point!! And not forgetting our fantastic coach Sophie.

The warm ups are fun but strategic, believe me with the throwing games we play, it's hard enough to remember which direction the ball is coming from but we're all in the same boat, we eventually figure it out laughing & as soon as we've got the hang of it Sophie changes the game ha ha ha!!! So not only does it make my body work harder, my brain is being challenged too & that's before we even play a game!!!!

I am a Goal Attack & so rushed into this position on my first game only to realise what a massive mistake this was & after approximately 5 minutes (maybe less) I was begging to be swapped with the Goal Shooter. I was seriously unfit. Sophie obliged the first time with me being a newbie but has since encouraged me to push myself that little bit further each week & as much as I cannot say I am now supersonic fit, not yet anyway, I can say that I am able to do more than I could. Let's hope Christmas hasn't destroyed that ha ha!!!

I love playing netball, I feel vitalised when I finish & can't wait for our new sessions to start on Monday!

Happy New Year Everybody!!!!!

Carol’s story:

"I quickly became a regular making a great group of friends."

I was looking at getting back into sport and went to my local leisure centre (which took a lot of courage let me tell you!) where I found out there were netball sessions running. I used to love netball but was a bit wary of going back, luckily I loved it! I quickly became a regular making a great group of friends.

So much so I could not wait for the Christmas period to be over, too much turkey, Christmas Pudding and not enough workout since the last Back To Netball session finished on the 9th December.

So what better way to end the year with a group of netball addicts to have one last workout before New Year! We organised a get together to shake off the New Year cobwebs and I was pleased to say 20 Netball players of all abilities turned up to play. I’m so glad I not the only one who loves to play!

Since joining Back To  Netball, I have lost weight and my body shape has changed and I’m liking the new me. Netball really gives me a full body workout.

So happy to say that I’ve got a netball filled week with Monday playing my final match of the season and hoping to go out with a New Year bang! Tuesday will be my Wildcats netball day and Wednesday is the Back to Netball session with lots of skills, drills and laughs! So glad it’s 2016!

Steph's story:

“Back to it with a HIIT and a thud”

I was 10 when I first started playing Netball. I was dragged into it by my 3 sisters. I say dragged, because it was exactly that, I had no interest in it. One evening I was forced to join them at training and in all honesty, I haven’t looked back. Netball became an outlet for me and I met girls who, to this day, are still my best friends. Over the years I have had the chance to play at many levels and with many different people. Netball to me is still as fun as it was 20 years ago, but my playing career hasn’t been without its troubles.

At 18, I snapped my anterior ligament in my ankle. After 6 months of physio I was back (albeit with pretty hefty ankle braces but I was able to play again). 7 years later at 25, an accidental challenge by my opponent resulted in a torn ACL. This time it took 2 reconstructive surgeries and 9 months of physio to get me back on court.

Managing an injury is tough and I’m never not conscious of it/them. Recently my knee started “playing up” again and I was finding it harder to keep the pains away. I feared that was it, I was done, no more playing the sport I loved.

Through my Mum I heard about a new programme that my previous coach, Mo Squires was setting up; Walking Netball. My initial thoughts were “Walking Netball. Surely I’m too young?” After attending my first session I found the programme was not just for the over 50’s, but actually a great platform for injured players like me to get back to netball gradually. The fact that I can continue to play my sport at a slower, more controlled pace has given me the kick I’ve needed. I am not ready to throw in the towel… not yet!

So… New Year, new focus. Time to work on strength and conditioning. With Walking Netball starting again next week, my first port of call was a tailored HIIT session targeting leg strength and overall fitness. 20 minutes intense cardio was swiftly followed by 20 minutes of trying not to be sick! Maybe Yoga would have been a better choice for dusting off the Christmas cobwebs?! Oh well… what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (hopefully).