We all do a similar job, but the job at hand can vary so much, and this really is reflected by WHO it is we are coaching. So the first week of each month, for each day of that week, we will bring you a look into the life of another Coach. We hope you find it interesting to see what other coaches get up to, and hopefully as they share their fab ideas or learn lessons throughout the season, you can learn along with them.

Day 4 and today we bring you, the Adult Participation Coach.

Name: Gemma Sandberg

Google Ad Manager – MPU – In Article

I started coaching (when)… I was at University. I had always loved sport through school and college and wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a career as a PE teacher or in Sport Development. I thought coaching would be a good place to start to gain some experience

I started coaching Netball… at the club I was playing for.  There was an influx of junior players and only 1 coach to run it so I started to help out.

I started coaching because…

At first I started coaching to gain some experience alongside the degree I was doing.  Now I am lucky enough to coach as part of my full time job!

I love coaching Netball because

It feels like a stress relief.  If I’ve had a bad day, going and seeing all the women I coach and getting really stuck into helping them develop makes me feel so much better.

I currently Coach… (Location/Age/ competition level)

U11 (club), U14 (club), Back to Netball and adult club

My Coaching Experience/qualifications… UKCC L2

My Coaching progression Plans for this season 16/17 are… I don’t really have a plan at the moment.  I am lucky enough to be in a job role where I am able to gain a lot of CPD in coaching through work.  I would love to gain some experience in performance and to be able to observe some experienced coaches. I really enjoy observing others and picking up tips.


I am lucky enough to be employed by England Netball as a Netball Development Community Coach (NDCC) where I spend my time promoting and delivering the popular Back to Netball programme.  Although I coach U11s in my spare time, the majority of the time I coach is spent with Back to Netball.

The nature of the programme means that we don’t tend to have ‘seasons’ the way we do in traditional netball but coming from the end of a very successful ‘Big Summer of Netball’ I have recently had a lot of new programmes starting and lots of new ladies.  The main thing I have been focussing on lately is just helping the ladies build up friendships. It can be quite daunting for somebody who hasn’t played in a while to come into a session on their own so I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible.  When I get a lot of new people along I like to start off with activities that will get the women talking to each other.  In my spare time I also coach a club (Great Park Netball Club).  This group of ladies started out as a Back to Netball group and very quickly evolved into a club. We currently have 4 squads and with the rate of growth I have a feeling it’s not going to be long until we have a 5th or 6th squad.  We have been lucky enough to get the teams into some of the local leagues (2 in Tyne and Wear and 2 in Northumberland) and I have been spending a bit of time helping them to prepare for that.  For some of the ladies this is going to be their first experience of playing in a traditional netball league so they are very excited.

My job means I am out coaching most nights through the week so I don’t always get a chance to attend courses for CPD, although our line manager does get some great coaches to come and work with us in our team meetings.  Anita Navin came to our last one and put on a brilliant session for us! There’s a great group on Facebook called ‘Back to Netball coaches’ which is a really good way to share good practice.  There are some coaches who video parts of their sessions and upload to the group so would definitely advise anybody coaching Back to Netball to join.

A challenge I faced recently was with the Great Park ladies.  After entering them into the local leagues myself and the committee thought it might be a good idea to retrial the teams so that all the new ladies could integrate into the existing squads from the year before.  Some were happy with this idea and some were a little apprehensive.  Some of the ladies had built great friendships in the teams they were in and for them this was the most important part of their netball life, it was like they had formed little families which is so lovely to see.  Instead of mixing them all up we decided to let them stay in their existing teams and the new players formed new teams.  The emphasis was then on the social secretary (it’s always great with Back to Netball to have a social secretary) to arrange some nights out so that everybody could get to know each other.  There have been some absolutely brilliant events (also helped by a lot of the women having weddings and birthdays) that are attended by members of all teams and the ladies make a huge effort to socialise with everyone.

I suppose the main learning for me from this was that everybody has different reasons for playing netball with friendship being one of the biggest factors!

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