Ibby Maloney's Back to Netball Story

A Southwell teacher says England Netball’s Back to Netball programme reignited her love for the sport – even encouraging her to bring her mum to training.

Ibby Maloney, 36, is a secondary school English teacher who plays for Southwell Swifts and was reintroduced to the sport having previously played at primary school.

And Maloney, one of over three million UK women who play netball each year, said: “I absolutely loved it, I play with my mum, she’s 62 so we both go to Back to Netball together.

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“It’s definitely developed my confidence without a doubt, I feel so much happier, I actually play four times a week now and the feeling when you’ve played a game is really exhilarating, energising, and thrilling.

“I’ve met women of all different ages, different abilities and different backgrounds, so I feel like I’ve made some lifelong friends who I wouldn’t have come into contact with any other way.”

New research shows that almost nine in ten (88 per cent) members of the Netball Family say the sport gives them a sense of belonging, with 73 per cent reckoning it makes them feel empowered.

“I think that our Netball Development Community Coach Ruth Pickthorn has incredible enthusiasm, it’s beyond infectious,” said Maloney.

“She creates such a comfortable atmosphere, it’s so supportive and completely inclusive, if anybody did make a mistake we’d just fall about laughing and move on!

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