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Coventry Netball make an impact through the power of sport

by - 25/01/2024 in Community

Charter Savings Bank is proud to have sponsored Coventry Rugby Club since 2019, so we’re delighted to see Coventry Netball, the latest addition to the club’s sport offering, get off to a flying start.

It’s all thanks to the hard work of Wes Blair, the club’s Head of Community and Netball, who joined the organisation earlier this year.

Wes, who brings a wealth of experience to the role through her previous work with England Netball, has immediately got stuck into her new position, organising fixtures and looking at how her experience could help to make an impact in the local community.

“I’ve been involved in netball for well over 28 years and I’ve seen how it can change a person,” she said.

“As netball player I’m tenacious, in my role as Head of Community and Netball it’s more of the same really, I like to get things done - I’m organised and committed.

“I’ve been using my connections from my previous work at England Netball and am looking at their NetballHer programme. The programme focuses on women’s health such as puberty, periods, sports bras and barriers that stop some young females from playing netball. I’ll see how I can build that into Coventry Netball’s programme and everything we do.”

“Coventry Netball is first and foremost focused on building the confidence of girls and young women as well as supporting their general wellbeing. If they’re struggling in the classroom or need a way to relieve stress when they’re doing exams, then netball can help with that. By giving them role models and building up their self-esteem netball can really change attitudes and make a difference.”

How Coventry Netball have put their plans into action

Wes explained how by working in schools, Coventry Netball is exploring where they can help to develop their netball programmes. Following lockdown, a lot of the primary schools found it was a challenge getting the children back to a place where their movement and co-ordination was good. The team is working with the primary schools to make sure the children’s netball skills are where they should be, getting them ready to leave primary school and go to secondary school.

Coventry ran netball camps in the summer where mixed ability players could have fun and learn some new skills from coaches at local franchise Central Warriors. It was the first time running the camps as part of the rugby club and there were also masterclasses for those that wanted more specific netball training such as a tutor masterclass as well as an attack and defence masterclass.

The club has already made the most of England Netball’s support and liaised with them about the use of a pop-up netball court. On the club’s ‘Try for Her’ day, which is just for girls, they got to experience playing rugby and netball on the bright pink and blue pop-up netball court. Everyone enjoyed seeing them getting involved in the rugby stadium and Coventry Netball will be looking to repeat the event.

“We did lots of fun games and the girls really loved the pink and blue netball court. It was a really good idea to get them involved in rugby and netball and we’ll look to repeat the day,” she went on to say.

“Even though that was an all-girls day, the club does get the netball equipment out for the girls and boys to enjoy in mixed groups too - it’s a sport for everyone. I’m involved with helping the men’s team to coach the youngsters and netball is definitely growing from a mixed sports ability perspective.”

coventry netball club partners with charter savings bank

What’s in store for Coventry Netball

Wes believes it’s great for girls and boys to work together as there’s so much that they can learn from each other. They’re looking at doing a rugby and netball cross-over in the next few months, getting some of the rugby boys playing netball and vice versa to see how different it is and how it might be similar too.

“The rugby team might be shocked to discover the strength that netball requires!,” she laughed.

“In primary schools they do mixed netball up to year six, but when we’ve gone into secondary schools they’ve been asking whether boys can join in with the sessions. They have no issue with boys joining in and will see if schools have a growing interest in mixed group rugby and netball sessions.”

For the first time, Coventry Netball organised a Coventry primary schools festival in October. There was some coaching in the morning followed by a competition. All the children received a medal and a certificate but there were also prizes for the winning team too!

Also on Coventry Netball’s schedule for October were the Netball camps and the more in-depth masterclasses. As they were so well attended for their first roll out in the summer, they ran another two days during half term.

In early 2024, they’ll start to create a Coventry Netball team alongside the secondary schools that they’re currently working with, inviting them to various competitions around Coventry and the West Midlands., Coventry Netball is putting together information about this for the schools to make them aware that this will be happening at no extra cost to the schools or the children. And, to let them know they can do the sessions on the school sites so there’s no travel expenses involved as they’re all local to each other.

A successful start

Coventry Rugby Club is pleased to have started this journey from rugby to netball and see how this addition has already made an impact both in and out of schools. As a new initiative, Coventry Netball has been well received in the community. They’re continuing to map out their journey and remain committed to creating positive role models for young females in Coventry.

Charter Savings Bank is proud to sponsor Coventry Rugby Club and looks forward to seeing the positive effect Coventry Netball has on its local community as it goes from strength to strength.

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