The Huddle for UK Coaching Week: The Joys of Community Coaching

At just 18 years old, Jessika Wood is already having a positive and lasting impact on her local community.

Working as a Community Coach in Sussex, the young player, umpire and coach runs a weekly Netball Now session in partnership with Active Sussex and Sudhan Welfare Society, using the Together Fund to deliver netball to a diverse group of South Asian and Pakistani women.

Not only has Jessika found this experience incredibly fulfilling – she has learnt about different cultures, from food to language to experiences of Ramadan – but she also believes coaching has given her an invaluable confidence boost, enriching her life in more ways than she ever could have imagined.

“What I love about coaching the South Asian women on a Thursday is that they tell me so much about their culture,” Jessika tells 5th QTR [England Netball’s member magazine].

“The other day we stayed behind at the end because they were talking to me about what dinners they were all cooking, and explaining the different foods to me.

“Another time, we had a conversation all about Ramadan because we’re on a break at the moment because of the holiday, and it just felt so amazing and so nice that they were all willing to talk to me about it.

“I like it because I feel like I’m giving back to the community, and everyone is so nice as well,” she adds. “I remember that it was a really easy process to become a Community Coach.

“It’s really good to see diversity spreading in netball. When you look at lots of the older people in the game, particularly in my area, they are much more likely to be white. So it’s great to see people from different backgrounds getting the chance to be involved and to play at a level they enjoy.”

Jessika has relished the challenge of working with netballers of all different abilities. In her cohort of South Asian women, many of them had never played netball before, so getting them to enjoy game play and learn skills in a more fluid, fun-focussed way has been her key strategy.

“I have so much fun and it never feels stressful. The first coaching session is a bit scary, but once you work out what works for you and what works for your players, you just go from there.”

“They’re not there to become national netball players, they’re there to have more fun and take their mind off things, so having those fun games with the shooting and the passing increases their skills, but they’re also having so much fun. They love competitive games, they love being competitive with each other.

“With the coaching, I have so much fun and it never feels stressful. The first one is a bit scary, but once you work out what works for you and what works for your players, you just go from there.

“It also helps to watch other people coaching. Then it all comes together and you’re able to figure out what kind of session you want to plan and what you’re best at delivering.”

What is a Community Coach?

Community Coaches make up part of the England Netball workforce and help run programmes such as Back to Netball, Walking Netball, Netball Now, and Netball Youth Camps. As well as joining the organisation as part of the National Governing Body for netball there are lots of other perks too…

  • EN kit
  • Good rate of pay
  • Resources
  • CPD
  • Newsletters
  • Mentoring / buddy system
  • Discounts on EN Store
  • Masterclasses
  • Volunteering opportunities at events
  • Ongoing support

If you’re interested in learning more, please contact your local Netball Development Officer, or email

Refreshed for 2024, The Huddle promises to do what all good huddles do – bring the whole Netball Family together! We want to champion and celebrate your stories, and the stories of the people who inspire you, so share yours here.

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