Dart Netball Club

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

This week we’ve heard from a Devon club about how they have stayed connected during a time when they couldn’t get on court, and how they’re training now. With lots of top tips for those starting to think about small group sessions, have a watch of the video to hear more from chairwoman and coach of Dart Netball Club, Charlie Haigh.

Dart Netball Club, based in Torbay, quickly took to Zoom when they realised they wouldn’t be able to train. “We wanted to keep the girls as engaged as possible, and the adults too,” says Charlie, who talks through the activities with Devon Netball Development Officer, Jenny Kelly. 

“We’ve used Zoom training a lot, we’ve put together a series of activities throughout the week for different age groups. We do have a couple of coaches who are qualified personal trainers as well.”

Explaining how the girls really loved staying connected with each other, she reveals that the club even got to a point where the U16s and U14s were doing 2-3 sessions a week, of fitness and ball handling.

And wanting to ensure a balanced approach, Charlie used her experience in yoga and pilates to run some online flexibility and mobility classes too. “It was really good fun!” she says.

Now, they’ve moved onto implementing the new guidance, and have started small group sessions on a nearby field.

“I’ll be honest with you, the first week we were really nervous,” says Charlie. “But actually, as the weeks have gone by, the girls have got more comfortable and they really understand social distancing.”

Encouraging the girls to being their own netball, and using mainly crazy catches, it means they’re not sharing equipment but are still getting lots of ball handling practice. “The girls have absolutely loved it. If you give them clear guidance, it really does work.”

As well as not sharing balls, using crazy catches and sanitising equipment, Charlie also recommends doing different sessions on different evenings if possible, and try to keep them in the same training groups. “Working with the same people each week has helped parents feel more confident [about not mixing with too many people] too,” says Charlie.

“It’s worked really well and the feedback from parents has been really good. It’s also been about socialising and seeing their friends – as much as they have missed the sport, they’ve missed the social element too.”

Well done to Dart Netball Club for being so proactive! Head over to our social media channels to watch the video for the full interview and to get more top tips and ideas for returning to small session training.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)