Netball stars get coaching boost

SUFFOLK'S young netball players were given a boost last week, with a specialist coaching session from a new England Netball initiative at Deben High School in Felixstowe.

SUFFOLK'S young netball players were given a boost last week, with a specialist coaching session from a new England Netball initiative at Deben High School in Felixstowe.

The sport's governing body, England Netball, has re-launched its Skill Awards training scheme this year, and Felixstowe became one of the very first places in the country to trial the programme.

The awards will see players progress through the levels of the training scheme, being assessed along their way. All those successful at demonstrating the basic skills at each level will receive a certificate.

Responsible for bringing this initiative to the coastal town is netball specialist and School Sports Co-ordinator Heidi Wyncoll, who is looking to make sure Felixstowe's young players benefit from the Skills Award.

She said: “Netball has always had these Skill Awards, but this year England Netball has reinvented them on a slightly more basic level.”

The event, which was open to those aged between11-14 and ran between 10am and 4pm, attracted fifteen youngsters keen to show off their skills.

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The day started with a morning session working on skills, include catching, shooting, and defending. Wyncoll said: “The technique involved in these exercises is incredibly important, improving technique can vastly improve exercises such as shooting, as well as staying in control of the ball, and the body whilst pivoting. Some of the girls had never been coached one-on-one defending before, so it was good to be able to give them their first taste of this, as it is a very important skill within the game.”

The afternoon saw a series of games and matches, as well as assessment of all of the skills taught in the morning session, with all players passing. Wyncoll was rightfully pleased with this, she said: “Its great for everyone to pass, it was a great day, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves, which was obviously important. The more people that take part in events such as these and enjoy them, the better the standard of sport in the areas schools will be.”

As a result of the day, a number of the girls who participated have been invited for England academy trials, something Wyncoll is particularly pleased about, she said: “Its great that we have been able to put some of the girls forward for these trials, we have also put others through to the next stage to take their level 5 award. The aim is to get netball taught and enjoyed to a better standard in schools, but we are also aiming for all of those who are not affiliated with club, to become so, this will improve both their ability, and their enjoyment of the sport.”

Anyone interested in the scheme is invited to contact Juliet McMurray by email at juliet.mcmurray@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk.

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