The Huddle for Mental Health Awareness Week: The Power of Netball for Lynda

As we mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, netballer Lynda shares her remarkable journey through netball, resilience, and well-being.

Lynda with her Walking Netball Award

Her experience began with a simple conversation at work: “Someone mentioned that she had been playing netball, I mentioned that I use to love playing but am now to old and overweight. She recommended the Walking Netball at Blackburn Leisure Centre, so I went along to watch and see if I thought I could play. I have not looked back!”

Entering into what the programme had to offer has benefitted Lynda both physically and mentally. As she built meaningful relationships and her netball skillset, she found that “it felt so natural being back”.

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Walking Netball is a programme designed to connect people to each other and the game. It is a friendly and inclusive programme, allowing women the opportunity to find their place in the sport. “I love how it’s for different ages and we have so much fun and giggle quite a lot – not when playing, obviously we are very competitive! The session helps me with my anxiety and depression, I also now find that I can talk to (Hosts) Steph or Anne which is great for my mental health.”

Stephanie Hastwell, Netball Development Officer Lancashire and Walking Netball Host, with Lynda

Empowered by her Walking Netball community, Lynda then began attending Back to Netball. “I never imagined I’d be playing ‘proper’ netball again at my age,” she laughs. “Anne-Marie and Annya have some great warm-ups and drills, and even though I can’t always keep up, I never feel out of place or like I shouldn’t be there.” Participants at Back to Netball receive a warm welcome without expectations of demand or commitment. Sessions are progressive and trained coaches will guide players through the basics.

Inspired by her hosts, Lynda now hosts her own Walking Netball session. “I have done my Host training, Steph supported me through this, and Ann-Marie gave me a lot of tips on how to run a session. I am getting some good feedback from the ladies that are attending these sessions, and it makes me feel so good about myself.”

The impact of netball in Lynda’s life continues to grow and fulfil her in an empowering way, even taking her now to league level match play for a team as the goal shooter. “Although we aren’t doing very well, we all enjoy the companionship, and it is keeping me fit and it is doing my anxiety and depression good.” She has also grown an interest for officiating at the league, having started to umpire matches too!

As we celebrate Lynda’s journey, we’re reminded of the profound impact that sport can have on mental well-being. Through the power of community, camaraderie, and a shared love for the game, individuals like Lynda find resilience, purpose, and hope in the face of adversity.

Come along and get involved in our netball programmes in your local area today with our Session Finder!

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