Top tips to stay Netball fit & Connected

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

Here in the South West, the Back to Netball scene in Exeter are keeping connected through facebook and whatsapp groups with the help of their coach Sarah Bishton. From daily netball challenges, living room HIT and strength and conditioning exercises to outdoor technical shooting practices, speed and agility ball circuits. Sarah has even invited all her netball family including anyone who has a love for netball on her facebook friends list to the three teams she coaches for Exeter Netball club who all compete in the Local District league. Sarah has also emailed resources and content to her the athletes of the Exeter College Netball Academy for her dual role as a Netball coach and lecturer in Sport at Exeter College. 

During these unprecedented times, Sarah’s routine consisting of Netball coaching every evening sure has changed. We caught up with Sarah and asked how she has adapted to life at home and to tell us a bit more about how she is helping the netball community stay active during isolation.

‘Well like many netball coaches, players, umpires, parents, teachers, I am slightly out of sorts not being able to see familiar faces each week and to not be able to provide physical activity opportunities to students and the local community. After England Netball announced the immediate cancelation of any netball activity my heart sank. One, because of the seriousness and uncertainty surrounding the impact this disease may bring on society and the economy we know. Two, that netballers won’t be receiving the health and wellbeing benefits this sport provides. 

As a result, I started planning a variety of netball related exercises with household equipment (including tins and rolled up socks!) and some other activities for those lucky enough to have equipment such as netballs and posts at home. I saw this as an opportunity to keep my netball family connected and most importantly give them opportunities to still get their netball fix despite the circumstances. I have had a really positive response and interaction from this including the sharing of photographs and videos showcasing how they are getting active to help motivate each other.
     It is so important to keep active especially because we are spending more and more time staying at home. Not just for our physical health but for our mental well-being. Netball is a fantastic social sport that provides a sense of belonging and a chance to meet new people, interact and build new and long-lasting friendships. We are in this together and it is important that the netball family support, motivate and encourage each other by keeping connected, fit and healthy during uncertain times. Stand by the netball saying ‘here if you need’.

Here are some top tips I have shared with my netball community:

1) Set aside an hour dedicated to your training as you normally would

2)If you are part of a netball team/ friends who also love netball- stay connected using the wonders of technology! If you had a regular training date and time or weekly match use this time to meet up for a video call! Why not hold your own weekly team training and use the many netball inspired work outs out there and motivate each other! 

3) If you have an injury and your physio gave you that rehabilitation programme you should have done, well this is a great time to do it! 

4) Time for reflection- write your strengths and weaknesses. Find three for each and write down how you can improve your weaknesses. You may find it useful to use SMART goal settings here to ensure you can measure your improvements.”

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