Updated: Sep 10, 2020
According to the Active Lives Adult Survey every fortnight a 319,400 people play netball in the UK. The majority of local leagues and club matches are played outdoors come rain or shine. So... why do we love netball so much?
It keeps us fit and healthy - there are a lot of people who don't play netball that assume as you can't run with the ball you don't move much in netball. Actually, at club level the average centre will run between 5-6km during a match. And that's mostly sprinting, jumping and short bursts. It is estimated that an average centre court player will burn between 700 and 1200 calories in one netball match. And the best thing is, it's so fun to play you don't feel like you're exercising.
It keeps us real - the majority of local league games are still played outside. So, as long as it's safe, we play regardless of what the weather gods throw at us even if it means wearing thermals! Most of our antipodean friends who move over to the UK are generally horrified that it's a winter sport played outside in the depths of (an actually cold) winter but there's definitely a camaraderie in brushing the ice of the court before the first game, blowing leaves to the side so that we can see the lines and of course shouting "keep the passes short, the ball is wet!" on court. We may look like drowned rats who can't feel our toes when we finish a game, but it's nothing a lovely hot bubble bath can't fix!
It's truly a team sport - Netball is one of the few games where it is impossible for one person to dominate on court and steal all the limelight. The nature of the game means that you're only ever as strong as your weakest player. So there may be a strong player on the team but she completely dependent on other players on the team to get the ball from one end into attack and to score.
It's social - Netball is a great way to make new friends. If you move to a new area by joining the local club you will have an instant local friendship group. Netball clubs always organise social nights out as well as often summer tournaments and tours in places such as La Manga. At school it's a chance to make friends with other girls who aren't in your class and if you're a bit rusty back to netball is a great way to meet others in your local area. For those of you that might feel a little bit over the hill there's even Walking Netball which is great for people with less mobility. A fantastic chance to meet likeminded silver netballers!
It's a great spectators sport - ever watched a game of professional football and left after a slightly dull 0-0 result? Doesn't happen in Netball. Most international games and superleague games will have a combined score of over 100 - yes, that's right more than one goal a minute. Even at local club level you're likely to get scores in the 30s and 40s - now be honest - have you ever been a scorer for a game and missed a goal? Thought so! So, no snoozing on the sideline hubby, you could miss a vital goal, or 10!
It's inclusive - one of the great things about netball is the variation needed within a typical team. Super tall? Get that GS bib on. Super speedy reactions, GD is yours! Short and fast - there's a WA bib with your name on it! Calm in a crises, C is going to be for you. As well as that, there are so many different levels you can play at - school, club, back to netball, walking netball, mixed, versatility, fastnet, tournaments...etc it really doesn't matter how fit or able you are EVERYONE can enjoy a game of netball.
It's not too expensive - Netball is a great sport to get into if you don't fancy a huge investment, no expensive clubs, rackets, club memberships. All you need is a court which can usually be hired for between £10-20 per hour from schools or leisure centres, a ball, two posts (usually come with court hire) and some bibs. Sorted. If you want to get back into netball but don't have a team, look into Back to Netball which are usually just a few £ per session.
We love to be competitive - gone on... admit it, all netballers are competitive. And a bit of healthy competition is great! There's definitely a range between "competitive, likes to win" and "competitive - will throw herself at any player on court, including her own team, if it means she can get an interception" and my husband will testify that our house is definitely a happier place on a Saturday afternoon after a win.
Why else do you love to play netball? Email us with your top reasons for playing netball to firstname.lastname@example.org