The impact of the Netball World Cup on young girls playing netball
Netball is a growing sports, particularly for the girls game with most schools having competitive teams. For the sport to be played at a higher level, it’s vital to get young girls and women interested in playing sport either for fun or professionally and this passion should be instilled in them at school.
Inspiresport are championing the cause having signed a three-year agreement with Sisters n Sport and provide netball tours. We know how important it is to encourage young women to get involved in sport and raise the profile of a ‘female’ sport in an industry so dominated by male athletes.
Hosted in the UK, the Netball World Cup has increased the profile of netball. We examine how the tournament and the inspirational female athletes taking part are paving the way for future generations of highly skilled and inspirational female athletes.
The effect of the Netball World Cup
Key to any big sports event is the legacy. Sporting organisations from the Olympic committee to the FIFA and the International Netball Association all judge the bids to host the events with this heavily weighted. Expanding grass roots participation is often one of the key objectives.
BBC Sport’s ‘Change the Game’ advert featuring Ms Banks focuses on getting women into the game that would not have considered it an option; “Busting down all the doors we ain’t even putting the keys in”.
Increased exposure and TV coverage through BBC Sport has meant greater advertising revenues and brand sponsorships opportunities like at the fan park set up in Liverpool One. This is all contributing to an increased buzz around the sport, increased exposure for the players and local clubs.
As part of the legacy, the INF launched the NET2019 project in the lead up to the world cup. Part funded by UK Sport, England Netball and the International Netball Association, the aim is to increase participation in around the world, but with an emphasis on Zambia and Argentina. The project involved sending qualified English netball coaches out to work on the participation and skills at a grass roots level. With an investment of £90,000, the focus was on showing what targeted work could achieve with a plan to extend the projects.
Every sports event is remembered for its heroes (and sometimes villains!). The Netball World Cup was no exception. Some of standout performances were
Tharjini Sivalingam, Sri Lanka’s shooter who scored the most goals in the tournament. She also achieved 100 international caps during the tournament.
Laura Langman, who captained the winners New Zealand. Lauran has earned international 151 caps, a record for the Kiwis.
So, what can you do in your school?
Use netball’s history and current situation as a social lens. Key issues are
- Establishment of netball as a women’s alternative to basketball
- The gender divide in sports and why some sports are deemed gender specific
- Funding in women’s sport
Inspire; nothing gets children more engaged than seeing heroes they associate with triumph or cope with adversity and develop. Getting to know some of the key players, and what they have had to do to succeed.
Engage all genders. Netball participation is growing. It is one of the few sports where mixed teams are really taking off.
Arrange a tour. Taking children away together will build camaraderie, a focused camp can also hone the skills for competition and provide a chance to interact with some of the top coaches.