A netball-loving Londoner believes Back to Netball has transformed her life forever.
Rowan Young, 46, started attending Back to Netball sessions in North London’s Finsbury Park last March as restrictions began to ease.
Back to Netball sessions are a fun and friendly reintroduction to the sport and Young, a mum-of-one in the capital, says the sessions have given her a new lease of life.
She said: “I used to play a lot of netball at school, and I haven’t played since then.
“I loved netball at school and then I just hadn’t done anything for a number of years. And this year I thought, ‘come on, Rowan, you’ve got to do something, otherwise you’ll go mad!’ so I gave it a go straight out of lockdown and went along to one of the classes.
“I really wasn’t sure what to expect but I honestly loved it!
“The lockdown gave me the realisation that I should be taking care of my health more and trying to get healthier – and netball has definitely been part of that. Because everyone was coming out of lockdown as well, even people who had previously been to netball, the coach eased everyone in.
“It’s a really good team environment. You have complete ranges of ages and skills. There’re people who haven’t played netball before, people who have played regularly and in tournaments, all coming together, being mixed up in the teams.
“We have a good laugh as well as some quite competitive play! We do want to win, but it’s fun at the same time.”
Young has found her coach, Yvonne, to be key to making her feel comfortable on returning back to netball.
Having spent a long time looking after her 12-year-old son, Young has discovered that playing netball has given her time for herself – as well as making new friends along the way.
She added: “Yvonne makes it really fun, very relaxed but still a great session. She’s superb. Honestly, I’ve never played with someone who has made me so comfortable as she does and makes it really enjoyable.
“It’s something I can do for me. A lot of my life, my working life, is obviously really hectic, and then I have a son who’s 12 and I spend a lot of time ferrying him round to football and all the various other things.
“But this is something I’m just doing for me, which I haven’t done for years. It’s massive for me, just to get out for a couple of hours and have some fun with other women.
“I wish I had never stopped playing. It is really accessible – the sessions aren’t expensive, and they’re really comfortable. You’re not pressured into going to all the sessions if you can’t, you can just go to the one’s you can.
“Just go along. It’s that first step that is difficult to overcome. No matter what, you will be nervous about what other people will be like, worried about whether you’re going to keep up. But just go!
“I felt so comfortable, and you’ll really love it. Just take that first step and you’ll be on your way.”
For the week of 10 January, you can bring a friend for free to selected England Netball programme sessions* (Back to Netball, Walking Netball and Netball Now).
As we all know, netball is a sport for all, a game to be enjoyed and played with friends and family of every age and stage of life no matter your fitness levels or experience.
*Offer applies for selected sessions and places are limited, please contact your coach for further details (contacts can be found via the session finder)