Rarely do you meet a woman in the UK who has never played or seen netball; whether it was at school, for a local club or on TV. Most of us will have a go at some point.
One of the great things about netball as a sport it that it’s a real leveller. It touches women from all backgrounds, no matter how old (or young), irrespective of background, profession, upbringing or where you live.
I have been playing for many years. I was certainly sporty at school but find now I enjoy the game as much for the social and health benefits it brings, as the competitive element that drove me throughout 20s.
Most women who sign up to play netball with leagues4you are interested in their own wellbeing. They want to keep fit – but they don’t necessarily want to join a gym. They may also feel nervous about joining a new club and be wary of launching straight into a club environment in a competitive league. Fears around fitness levels, ability and ‘fitting in’ are often a barrier for women looking to embark on a new sport.
Social leagues provide the perfect space for women to get off the couch and onto to the court, in a welcoming and unpressured environment. They can sign up to take part in something fun that’s also good for their body and mind. But what they get is so much more than that and we see the same themes coming through time and again in their feedback.
The comradery is like no other, there’s nothing quite like your teammates cheering your name when you’ve pulled a world class interception out of the bag! People develop new friendships, and a regular netball session becomes a new, positive part of your routine.
We all know the wonders physical activity does for the mind – an hour of fresh air and exercise is a stress reliever like no other. But it can also go some way to address issues that prey on our mental health, such as isolation. Social sports function as a community, bringing individuals and teams together with a common interest. It offers a support network of sorts, where relationships develop beyond the court.
Netball has empowered me in so many ways; as a player, a coach, in the workplace and as a mum of two. It gives me a break from a stressful day, it makes me proud of what I’ve achieved, and it has helped me build resilience and perseverance; it gave me a reason to push through injury and regain my fitness.
Above all, netball brings a sisterhood – women celebrating women, on court partnerships grow into long-term friendships. These people have become my team for life and I hope we can help them build theirs.
To those who are considering social sports – whether it is netball, rounders, football or something else – I say take the leap and jump in with both feet. I promise, you won’t regret it. However nervous you are, there’s been someone more nervous before you who’s now playing every week, who’s found a new confidence and is now looking forward, not back.
For further information about the benefits of social sports, visit www.leagues4you.co.uk
About the author
Charlotte Waugh (36), Chief Operating Officer at leagues4you is one of the lucky ones. Having played netball since school, she has taken her passion for the sport and built a business which has encouraged over 4000 women (and men) to play socially.