Axe Vale Coaches sore on Tik Tok!

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

Last week the South West Regional Co-ordinator Laura caught up with Axe Vale Coach Sarah, who had been in contact about their steady progress towards getting back to netball.

Axe Vale Netball Club has been overwhelmed by the response to the netball fitness sessions that they have started to run. Over the next four weeks, they are delivering 24 bubbles per week to more than 100 girls and ladies from East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset.

Sarah said: ‘It is a busy time at Axe Vale Netball Club with 16 bubbles of netball fitness training for our juniors and four for our adults on the outdoor courts at Axminster.

Next week we start four bubbles in Chard with the launch of Axe Vale Netball Club – Somerset. The amazing response from the 100 juniors and 20 adults just shows how important netball is in our lives. Being highly organised when delivering the bubbles is essential!

Making sure that we get the right bubbles to the right place at the right time to ensure staggered starts/finishes, with enough time to clean equipment thoroughly in between, has been a challenge. The weather has held off so far so that is one less thing to worry about.’

They have been doing different types of training while in the bubbles, which has meant they have had to buy a lot of new equipment to keep sharing down to a minimum. Sarah said the club ‘now has a mountain of ladders, cones and hurdles – and no sports centre to store them in! A huge shoutout to Cllrs Ian Hall, Iain Chubb, The Rotary Club – Axminster and Somerset Activity and Sport Partnership for financial support for these sessions.’

She goes on to explain what they do at the sessions. ‘After a warm-up, we have done age and ability-appropriate netball circuits for the first half of the session, and in the second half we have been able to do more game-specific drills as we have access to half a netball court for each bubble. Even with the need to maintain a strict 2m distance, we have found that there is plenty that we can do – you just need to be inventive. We always end with a competition between bubbles, which is always very popular. This week we had a shooting competition and next week it will be passing accuracy.’

They have been blown away by the positive feedback from these sessions. Many of the girls have not socialised since lockdown started in March; sometimes this is due to their rural location and in other cases it is because of a lack of confidence. The feedback is that parents have welcomed the opportunity for their children/teenagers to socialise in a structured and socially distanced environment that is also contributing to improving their fitness.

Going through this successful process, Sarah has found the importance of being highly organised. Keep everything fun, play music – and if you want to raise a smile, get the coaches to do a Tik Tok video!

Thank you for the update Sarah and it’s great to see the club doing so well.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (