Netball made me…

From friendships and jobs to fitness and confidence, we loved hearing at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 what the sport has brought you…

The Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 wasn’t just about the 10 days of competition. It went much further than that, with the setting up of a community-based netball project aimed at building confidence and inspiring women in Liverpool, the host city.

‘Together We Will’ aimed to encourage less active women in the city to get involved in netball and physical activity, with the goal of engaging more than 1,000 participants in four main wards of Liverpool: Everton, Anfield, Kirkdale and Clubmoor.

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Launching with a ‘Get Inspired’ event at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena during the 10 days of the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, attendees were treated to a player Q&A with Vitality Rose Jodie Gibson, pamper packages, including beauty treatments, massage and make-up tutorials, a mini World Cup session and mocktail making, before witnessing all the live action with tickets to see England play.

At the event, attendees were asked to complete the sentence “Netball made me…” and it was an illuminating and uplifting exercise that really showed us what netball means to you.

“Netball made me… feel part of a team” and “…a team player” were two lovely answers, showing the sense of belonging and togetherness that team sport can bring, while “Netball made me… play with strength and win with grace” demonstrates the life skills it can help you develop.

Time and time again we saw women answering “Netball made me… more confident”; a phrase that fills us with hope and joy at how sport can be so much more than just physical exercise. “Netball made me… the best me.” Is there anything better?

And it’s not just your own enjoyment that came across, with answers including “Netball made me… want to help others play netball” and “…want to inspire our children” showing how it’s a game that motivates you to reach out to others in your communities.

Have a think about it yourself – what has netball done for you? Fill out your own blank piece of paper or ask your teammates to fill out the phrase: Netball made me…

Perhaps it’s made you fitter, happier or more confident like some of the women at the Get Inspired event? Perhaps it’s connected you to people, like the woman who wrote “Netball made me… the best friends a girl can have” or the one who answered “…meet more like-minded people”.

Perhaps it’s made you return to a sport you once loved, like lots of our Walking Netballers, many of whom doubted if they would get back on a court again. “Netball made me… enjoy sport again” was up there with our favourite answers, as well as “…happy every day”.

Have a think about what it’s done for your physical health – perhaps you feel like the woman who said “Netball made me… commit to being active” or the many who simply answered “…fitter”.

And what about your mental health? Already shown to have incredible well-being benefits, the advantages of sport are far-reaching, and can be a great tool to help with mental health, which the woman who answered “Netball made me… less stressed” has felt the benefits of.

The social side of netball is one of its greatest strengths too. “Netball made me… friends” was one of the most common answers we saw over and over again, with one player simply commenting netball made her “smile”.

We know you’re so excited to get back on court when it’s safe to do so and we’d love to hear what netball has done for you. For two women at the event who answered “Netball made me… a career”, they show it can be more than a sport, more than a passion, more than a game.

In fact, sometimes netball is so ingrained in a person that it’s a part of who you are. In the words of Jodie Gibson at the Get Inspired event: “Netball made me… me!”.

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Written by Lucy Higgins

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