Leadership programme strengthens netball  

A leadership development programme being run by Netball North has created more spin-offs than just increased ball skills.

TrustLine newsletter, March 2012

Last year 115 young players, from North Harbour through to Cape Reinga, attended Netball North training courses which developed skills ranging from the rules of leadership to coaching, budgeting and goal setting. Other courses covered event management, nutrition, drug-free sport, injury prevention and working with the community and police.

“Assessment of the programme so far shows marked success,” says Netball North’s Chairperson Karen Thompson “With unemployment statistics quite high in the Far North, this programme more than ever is so important and shows a positive acceptance within the community.”

As well as the 115 young leaders on the courses, 149 people from the centre have attended official Netball New Zealand coaching courses, including seven who gained community coaching qualifications.

Last year the young leaders on the programme put their skills to the test by running a grass-roots club and junior school competition in Whangarei that attracted about 400 players. The youth leaders also umpired games between 40 teams, drawn from Waitakere through to Kaitaia.

With a network of young leaders available to volunteer in the centres, Netball North was last year able to run a four-week twilight competition called V-Ball. The young leaders were the driving force that opened up this five-a-side competition to more than 100 participants aged from 13 through to 55. Netball camps have been held at the region’s colleges and field days, focused on family involvement, have drawn hundreds of players – many of them new to the sport.    

 “The recruited young leaders are seeing the value in their efforts and have a sense of belonging to a wider community,” says Karen. “Relationships with schools are strengthened and funding from ASB Community Trust has meant more access points closer to people in remote areas.”

The leadership programme is continually adapted to fit the changing economic climate and the needs of members, she says. With more young leaders exposed to these training opportunities, they can in turn pass the knowledge on to others.

 “Our programmes need to fit our youth and not the other way round. As a region we are promoting cohesion and getting netball centres talking to each other, clustering our opportunities to develop further. This takes time, but we are making headway,” she says.