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Janet Cole coaches and uses the VNC.

As a not-for-profit sport our members are the fabric of our game, our DNA, our heritage and our future.

This past year we have seen just how powerful the collective efforts of our members can be with 90,000 of you continuing to invest in our game, despite the impact COVID-19 had on the season, directly contributing to helping our sport survive financially.

But being an England Netball member is more than just a passport to play – it is about being a part of something bigger, helping to protect, grow, nurture and champion our game today and for years to come.

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To celebrate this, we wanted to shine a light on a variety of our members over the coming weeks and months.

This time, we spoke to coach and Virtual Netball Club (VNC) user Janet Cole:

Lockdown proved to be a difficult period for everyone in the United Kingdom during 2020 and many are still feeling the effects of what was practically a year without indoor team sports.

When the original restrictions took hold last year, netball had to cease. Members of the Netball Family were stopped from playing, training and socialising in the midst of the sport’s most successful spell to date.

From the Vitality Roses to grassroots participants, many were left wondering how to continue developing their skills and engaging with a sport that brought so much more than just physical exercise.

Like in other areas, we saw the Netball Family come together in droves to pick one another up over Zoom and with social media challenges. In an unprecedented period, netball stood strong.

This was also the case for Janet Cole, a mother who coaches a club side in Gloucester and is also a Walking Netball host.

“During the lockdown, our club side just did a few online socials and Zoom quizzes. The Walking Netball side kept going through socials. It was just to keep fit and to keep in touch with people,” she said.

“It was really important to keep in contact and they were very keen to do things on a weekly basis, especially the Walking Netballers. We also had WhatsApp groups going to check in on people.”

“When we were able to do stuff socially distanced, we did a few fitness sessions in the local park and really picked up when we were allowed outside again. It all started as soon as it could.”

Janet is a Level Two coach having taken the required course as an England Netball member. As a Teaching Assistant, she also helps with the after-school netball club and some PE sessions.

As a result, she was often tasked with organising these online sessions during lockdown and beyond.

Janet was able to use the Virtual Netball Club (VNC) exclusive to England Netball members for herself but she also used this collection of premium videos as inspiration for her own players, which she still does to this day.

“I’ve just got a lot of ideas from it. It’s a resource that I’ve found extremely useful to give me ideas that I can use at my club with my players. It was all about the expertise and their different approaches,” she said.

“I cribbed a lot of their ideas because I’m always looking for different ways of doing things as a newly-qualified coach.

“Being able to go back and use it at any time has been great even just to remind me of things. It’s really helpful to have it there so I can go back and refresh my memory. My Level Two course gave me a lot but the VNC gave me a lot of extras.”

The VNC comes free with your England Netball membership and includes a wide variety of exclusive videos which can be easily viewed on the England Netball website.

Originally launched as a method of keeping the Netball Family connected during lockdown, a wide range of content is still regularly uploaded to give people more for their membership.

You can find live fitness routines, sit down interviews with Vitality Roses, ball handling sessions, tips from some of the world’s best coaches, and much more. This is just one way of unlocking the full potential of your England Netball membership at no extra cost.

Janet, who has been playing since primary school, believes not enough people are aware of the incredible benefits they can take advantage of as an England Netball member.

“I don’t know if people are aware of everything that’s available. There’s discounts from partners such as Gilbert, access to the VNC, and the magazine. I’m just not sure people make use of all of the benefits that they can get from England Netball,” she said

2021/22 membership:

The year ahead for netball in this country is unparalleled. It is a critical year to return our sport. This is our time to build back stronger, to grow our sport, to strive for more.

This is our time to inspire more women and girls to take to the courts than ever before, to set ourselves apart from other sports, celebrating what makes us unique, filling our courts across the country with joy once again.

This is our time to play with hope, and happiness, to grow and set bold new goals for ourselves and our sport.

To find out more about member benefits, click here. Contact your local club to find out more about becoming a member for the 2021/22 season.

Follow England Netball on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for the latest news and content.

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