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If you’re part of our netball leagues, you already know how incredible the sport is and what a positive impact it can have – mentally, physically and socially.

You also know how Play Simple Netball works; we use our expert systems and knowledge to make it as easy as possible for our teams to get on the netball court.

But have you ever considered taking your involvement in netball to the next level?

Play Simple Netball started in Manchester but works on a franchise model – we have franchisees who run their leagues independently in their own geographic region.

Liverpool is one of these franchises and has now become available for sale in an exciting opportunity for our players and other potential business owners alike.

So, how does having your own Play Simple Netball franchise work?

We have a tried and tested system for our leagues – we know how to get new players on board, how to organise new teams, and how to keep leagues running effectively season after season – and that knowledge is available to our franchisees too.

If you become a franchisee, you’ll have support from the Play Simple Netball team every step of the way. We can help guide you in growing the leagues, as well as provide support in terms of marketing and more to help you wherever we can.

With a Play Simple Netball franchise, you have the chance to create your own full time, profitable business, working for yourself in a sport that you love. It doesn’t matter whether you have experience in self-employment or not – if you have the drive and the time to put into a franchise, either with an existing franchise such as Liverpool or elsewhere in the country, this could be a fantastic opportunity for you!

Want to know more? Contact Jo Wilks today on joanna@simplenetball.co.uk to see if it’s the right opportunity for you.

We love netball, and the most important thing to us here at Play Simple Netball is that you love it too – and that you enjoy your games with us as much as possible.

But it’s also up to us to ensure that everyone is safe when they play, and that means we have some pretty strict rules about what you can and can’t wear on court.

If you’re new to Simple Netball, you might not be expecting to have to adhere to our health and safety rules, but our umpires check these before the start of every game – and if you’re unprepared for these, it unfortunately means that you won’t be able to play!

So, have a good read of the below, and make sure you’re prepared ahead of your games…

 

Jewellery – take it off!

This is a big one, and the rule we tend to have the most trouble with when it comes to match night.

To be allowed on the court, you need to remove all your jewellery before playing. And we mean all of it! All earrings, nose studs, lip piercings…everything needs to be taken out. We know some piercings can be tricky, especially earrings in the cartilage, but they all need to be taken out. It’s a good idea to make sure these can be removed at home before the game. You might find it a little irritating and inconvenient, but it really is for your safety as well as that of other players.

Stuff like Fitbits, wrist bands and sweat bands must be removed too. The only exception to this rule is if you’re wearing a plain wedding band, or medical alert band – but these must be taped down.

So please remember, anyone who refuses to remove their jewellery will not be allowed to play.

And, if you do need to take jewellery off to play, please note that we’re not responsible for your property whilst at a Simple Netball venue – so it might be best to leave valuable jewellery at home rather than at the side of the court!

 

Nails – keep them short!

When you’re going for those balls and intercepting those passes, it’s easy for you to scratch or come into contact with other players, and it’s for this reason that we ask you to keep your nails nice and short on court. Your fingernails should ideally be around 1mm long, and not visible over your fingertips, so as to ensure no accidental scratches.

Umpires check the nails of all players before the game, and if yours are too long, you won’t be permitted to play.

We recommend clipping your nails before you arrive, or keeping a nail file handy in your bag just in case!

 

Pregnancy – it’s up to you, for a while

If you’re in the early stages of pregnancy and your first trimester, it’s completely up to you whether you choose to play netball – though we advise speaking to your doctor about this first.

But we at Simple Netball do go by AENA Netball rules, which state that those past 12 weeks of pregnancy should not play, and so ask team members to stop playing when they reach that milestone for their own health and safety.

 

Clothing & Footwear – make sure it’s appropriate

Fear not, there’s no need to dig out those school netball skirts to play in our matches!

Whilst you’re free to invest in full netball dresses for your team if you wish, there’s no specific clothing requirements to play netball with us.

All you need is clothing that’s suitable for this level of physical activity; any leggings/shorts and vest/tee shirt that you would wear to the gym will be fine.

Good quality, comfy trainers are recommended, and of course you can wear trainers designed specifically for netball too. If you’d like to find out more about how netball trainers can help you up your game, have a read of this blog.

 

We hope you found this helpful! Have a good read, share this with your team, and make sure you’re all prepared when it comes to match night.

If you have any questions, let us know!

How to find ringers, and set up your profile if you want to be one

It’s often the case that once someone joins one of our netball league, they catch a bit of a buzz for the sport, and want to play more often!

If you set up your profile to show your availability as a ringer, this means that when other teams are short, you are notified and have the opportunity of playing extra games during the week.

This is great for you as a player – not only are you able to play more netball at no extra cost, but this gives you more chance to improve your skills, take part in enjoyable exercise, and connect with other teams in our leagues. Plus, it helps ensure that we don’t have forfeit matches because other teams are short of people!

Setting up your profile if you want to be a ringer

If you would like the chance to be a ringer for other teams, it couldn’t be easier to set up your profile to make sure you’re notified when they’re needed.

Here’s a step by step of how to let us know when you’re available:

  1. Log in to your Simple Netball account on the website.
  1. Hover over the ‘My Profile’ icon in the Member Menu and click on ‘Communication Settings’.
  1. Scroll down the ‘Communication Preferences’ page to ‘Extra Playing Opportunities (Ringer requests)’.
  1. Then, simply tick ‘Send me extra playing opportunities’ and it will reveal a list of our league venues, nights and positions you are willing to play.  You can see how close the venues are to you by clicking on their name, which will take you to a Google maps page of where they’re located.
  2. Select which days you’re available to play, the venues you can travel to and which positions you’re happy to play in if needed. You can select multiple options for these.
  3. Now an important bit – you have the option of being contacted by email and SMS text messages if there’s a ringer opportunity that fits your profile. Please make sure that you select to be contacted by email. We tend to get a lot of players who only choose the SMS option, but as we send out our ringer requests via email, this can mean that you might miss the chance for an extra game.

 

Once you’ve done all of those, simply click on ‘Update extra playing opportunity preferences’ at the bottom – and you’re good to go!

Keeping your ringer profile updated

Something to remember is to continue to update your availability as a ringer, so we can know which games you’re able to substitute for.

If your circumstances change and you are unable to make it to a certain venue, can no longer play on certain days, or are simply taking some time off playing netball – please, please try to remember to update your profile to reflect this! If not, we could be emailing you with the request to play on a day when you can’t, and it might result in others missing out or teams ending up short of players.

It’s also a good idea to keep checking the ringer availability section on your profile to see if we’ve added any new venues to our leagues. As our leagues continue to grow and so does our number of players (which is fantastic!), we continue to find new venues and spaces to play netball. By updating your ringer profile, you can see if any new venues near you have been added and mark yourself as available – meaning you have more chance of getting an extra game, and the teams at our new venues have a pool of ringers to get in touch with!

Finding a ringer if you’re an organiser

Got a game coming up and can see you’re short on players? If you’re the organiser for your team, there’s a few ways that you can find subs – but using our ringers list on the Simple Netball website is the best, and should be your first port of call.

Whilst we have organiser Whatsapp groups for each league where people often ask for subs, this isn’t always the most effective option. The team captains might not see the message, may not actually ask their team and you could end up short when it comes to match time.

Plus, using the ringers list allows players from different leagues the chance to play for you and get more games, instead of always using netballers you already play with.

Here’s a step by step of how to search for ringers through our website:

  1. Log in to your profile on the Simple Netball site.
  2. Click ‘Find Ringers’ from the Members Menu.
  3. Use the drop down to select which fixture you need the ringers for.
  4. Choose which positions you need – you can select multiple ones here, whether that’s if you need more than one ringer, or if your team is able to swap around depending on which ringers are free.
  5. Select the gender of player you need (this will be female unless you play in a specific mixed league).
  6. Click Find Ringers.
  7. You will then be presented with a list of people who have said they’re available to substitute on that day at that venue.
  8. As we’ve previously mentioned, email is the best method to use to get in touch with ringers. So, we’d recommend selecting to contact all the ringers the system has found via email, and then click Contact Ringers.
  9. This will send an email to those players letting them know you need subs, and giving them your contact details. Hopefully, some ringers will be in touch with you from there!

You can of course use the league organiser group on Whatsapp to find ringers, or even ask people to play that you might already be in touch with, but remember to send out a ringer request first. We find it’s the best way to secure those players and make sure you have a full team at match time!

If you have any further questions about finding ringers for your team, or how to set up your availability as a ringer, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Just click here to contact us.

Back to Netball: What they do and how we work with them

We know how daunting it can be to start playing netball, whether you’ve never experienced the game before, or are coming back to it years after playing in school.

That’s why England Netball’s ‘Back to Netball’ initiative is so fantastic – it’s designed to provide women with a gentle re-introduction to the sport in a structured environment with experienced coaches, and hopefully help you to get involved with netball more regularly.

They set up community sessions for ladies that have either never played netball, or just haven’t played for a long time, and deliver coaching to help them get back into it.

There’s even Walking Netball classes for those looking for something less strenuous!

Here at Simple Netball, we have a great partnership with England Netball in trying to introduce more people to the game.

How does the partnership work?

We find that often when potential new players come to us, they’re a bit nervous about going straight into one of our leagues when they haven’t played netball in a while.

This is totally understandable! And ‘Back to Netball’ is the perfect solution.

We work with ‘Back to Netball’ to run sessions every week on a Monday evening at the Barlow school in Didsbury. These sessions consist of qualified coaches going through the rules of the game, working on skills, delivering drills, and they act as a great step between being a complete netball novice and committing to one of our normal leagues.

From there, once they’ve gotten to grips with the game, lots of our ladies then go on to catch the netball buzz and join a team to start playing full matches – this is fantastic not only for us, in terms of filling up our leagues, but for England Netball too, getting more people participating in the sport!

What are the positives of getting back into netball?

We spoke to Jess Gordon-Smith, a Netball Development Community Coach who works for England Netball and delivers our Monday ‘Back to Netball’ sessions, and asked about why so many women are starting to enjoy the game.

She says “The initial benefit of netball is how it’s such a great form of exercise; there’s everything from running, to jumping, to cardio…it’s a full body workout.

“But then there’s the social side that people don’t expect – they might sign up at first to get fit, but end up coming to sessions to see people and make friends.”

‘Back to Netball’ also provides the needed expertise to make the process of getting back into the sport as easy as possible – including knowledge of how to deal with those recovering from an injury, or who are completely new to the rules.

According to findings from ‘Back to Netball’*, 97% of their participants say that it made them more physically active and they lead a healthier lifestyle, 86% said they felt welcome and interacted well with others, and 76% said it helped them feel good about themselves – confirming the positive impact that netball can have on you mentally as well as physically.

Numbers of netball lovers are on the rise

There’s been a surge in the popularity of netball across the UK in recent years, as well as more funding and opportunities, and the ‘Back to Netball’ initiative has played a big part in that, as well as the professional leagues (both national and international) becoming more accessible too.

But what else is increasing love for the sport?

Jess shared her thoughts on this with us: “I think netball is becoming more popular because it’s a sport just for women; it’s more fun than the gym, it’s a safe space where they’re not going to be judged, and more women are putting themselves first and setting aside an hour a week just for them.

“They want to use that wisely and do something that involves getting social as well as fit, rather than going to the gym and not talking to anyone.”

Figures from ‘Back to Netball’ themselves*confirm that they have engaged with over 60,000 participants since starting in 2009, with women of all ages included and 52% of those being mums – showing it’s a fantastic and flexible way for those with children to stay active.

37% of participants go on to engage in further netball, and 52% to other sports or activities – and overall, 98% of participants would recommend ‘Back to Netball’ to others. That sounds like a big thumbs up to us!

What impact have we had here at Simple Netball?

“Simple Netball is brilliant.” says Jess. “It gives people another option to improve their fitness and take part in a competitive sport which is fun at the same time.

“It’s perfect for learning what netball is all about – the umpiring, coaching, etc. – and opens the door to netball with no pressure, and without having to make too much of a commitment.”

She finishes by saying “Simple Netball have had such an impact on netball in Manchester and the North West; it’s amazing what they’ve done for women and the sport. To be part of that is so good, and you leave every session feeling great!”

Spreading the word about how incredible netball is and helping more people to get involved with the sport is hugely important to us at Simple Netball, and our partnership with ‘Back to Netball’ is helping us to do that on an even bigger scale!

If you’re interested in coming along to our ‘Back to Netball’ sessions, you can find out more about them here on our website, or get in touch with us by clicking here.

 

*B2N statistics provided by Jessica Gordon-Smith

Are you thinking of joining one of our netball teams, but nerves are stopping you from going for it?

Are you worried about playing netball again for the first time since school? Or maybe you’re a total newbie to the sport?

Not to worry! We know how daunting it can be to join a completely new netball team – but we also know the fantastic benefits of getting involved with netball, and how much our members enjoy being a part of our leagues once they get started.

So, to try and tackle some of the worries you might have about joining a new netball team, here’s some points to help you get to know what it’s like!

“Having not played for a number of years I was a little apprehensive. Firstly, coming alone and not knowing anyone, and then I had no idea what to expect in terms of the standard.

The first taster session was a little hazy getting back into the basics of the game, however soon got into the swing of things. Since then though it’s been great; I’ve grown closer with the team, everyone’s skills have improved and the confidence has grown, and it’s lovely to see the support each of the girls give one another.

I’d highly recommend coming along to try, also a great way of keeping fit!”

  • Kristy Heywood, current Simple Netball team member and super Centre

Everyone is in the same boat

Work teams, small groups or individuals – we get all kinds of people signing up for our teams, whether they know some players or nobody at all.

There’s nothing to fear about joining a new netball team on your own – chances are, most of the others on your team are in the same position too.

That also applies to the amount of netball experience you have before joining up; if you’ve played regularly or haven’t donned the court since your school days, there will be others just like you in your team and the league. We have a mix of levels in ability throughout our leagues, with some more experienced than others, but we always try and place you in the one most suitable for you when you first join.

Plus, remember that Play Simple Netball are recreational leagues, and nobody expects a brand new team to be perfect when they start. It’s a team sport, and so the more you play together, the more you bond and start to work together as a team.

It’s fine to be a bit rusty! You’ll soon pick the game and rules back up and see your own skills improve as well as your whole team.

“I was quite nervous joining a netball team. I hadn’t played netball since school and I’m not that confident with people I don’t know. I was a bit worried everyone else would be super fit…but I really wanted to get back into sports and increase my fitness.

I needn’t have worried at all; my new team members were friendly and welcoming instantly. From that first game they encouraged me and gave advice on how I could improve, which has made me a more confident (and hopefully better) player. Being part of a team motivates me to show up every week; if I’ve had a busy day or feeling a bit rubbish, and want to put my PJs on instead of my trainers, I still go to the games because I don’t want to let my team down. I’m always glad I did, because win or lose, I always feel energised, sweaty and grateful to be part of a team of strong and caring women.

I love the camaraderie and competitive banter not only within my team, but with other players and teams in the league on and off the court. I look forward to that 40 mins on the court each week, feeling part of an empowered and strong group.”

  • Lucy Ferguson, former Simple Netball team member & speedy WD

You’ll make new friends!

One of the best things about joining a new netball team is the people you’ll meet, and the friendships you can make too.

Playing netball together breeds a great sense of team spirit and a healthy bit of competition, and can help add a whole new community to your social life.

We run a lot of our netball teams with the use of Whatsapp, so you can chat to each other throughout the week ahead of the game, cheer each other on during matches and many teams often get to know each other so well that they organise team socials outside of netball. Plus, there will soon be familiar faces from other teams in your league too.

We take care of everything for you

There’s no need to worry about organising your new netball team once you join – at the start, we take care of it all for you. You pay your fees in a lump sum, meaning you don’t have to think about the weekly umpire costs just yet, we let you know who can play each week and we’ll sort out ringers/substitutes for you if needed.

Once your team has gotten the hang of things and know each other better, then we’ll hand over the organisation to you – but only when you’re ready!

“I researched all the available leagues in Manchester when I was looking for somewhere for me and my sister to play. I liked that you didn’t have to pay everything in advance when you signed up, the fees were only paid once a team had been found for you and you had committed to the league.

Simple Netball was exactly what I was looking for, a friendly open-to-all level netball league that works flawlessly every week. My sister and I now feel like established members of a really good team.”

  • Letitia Burgess, current Simple Netball team member & star GD

It gives you a great new way to get moving

Too often, we can see exercise as a chore – but netball is a fantastic way to work out and get sweaty that is also fun, social and competitive too. It becomes a seriously enjoyable part of your week, and some of our members who really catch the netball bug even go on to join more leagues too.

Joining a new netball team can put some fun back into your exercise regime, giving you a high intensity work out in the process!

We chat to so many players who are keen to join a team, but sometimes let their fears and nerves get in the way and prevent them from signing up. Hopefully the points we’ve shared can help you see there’s nothing to be afraid of, and so much to gain from joining a new netball team!

If you have any more questions at all or would like to find out more about a league near you, find out how to get in touch by visiting our Contact page. We can’t wait to hear from you, and hopefully see you playing soon!

Once a player joins Simple Netball, they often ask us – what do we need to wear?

You may remember netball skirts from back in your school days; don’t worry, they’re not a requirement! All we ask is that players wear clothing appropriate for strenuous physical exercise, whether that’s a netball dress or your favourite leggings.

But one part of kit that players often forget to focus on is their footwear.

Did you know? You can get trainers specifically designed for netball!

We find that recreational players often wear running trainers (or something similar) once they join a league.

Whilst this is great to get you started playing netball – and running trainers are certainly better than casual footwear like plimsolls or Converse in terms of support – trainers designed specifically for netball can actually be really helpful in giving you a boost on court, reducing the likelihood of injury and upping your game in general.

What are the benefits of wearing netball trainers?

One of the biggest ways that netball trainers can improve your game is by enabling you to change direction much more easily and effectively.

Agility, being quick on your feet and changing direction is key to getting away from your opponent (especially for those that play in attacking positions), and netball trainers can help a lot with this.

Whereas running trainers are designed to suit running and cope with a linear forward motion, netball trainers are more suited to sideways motion. They provide extra grip to stop your foot going over the side of the shoe, allowing you to change direction and take off again more effectively.

Netball trainers also give you more stability as you’re jumping and then landing, meaning more support for your knees and ankles and less risk of injury – this game can be tough on your ankles, so this can be really important! This can also make jumping and getting higher elevation easier, so you can reach those crucial passes during the match.

If you have any existing issues with your knees/ankles, or have recovered from a previous injury, wearing netball trainers can help you play more pain-free and focus on your game instead of any twinges that might be caused by inappropriate footwear.

Which trainers are best for which position?

Attacking players tend to favour lighter, speedier shoes with the grip and flexibility to help them change direction quickly, giving them the upper hand when it comes to outwitting the players that are marking them.

Defenders might be more keen on a heavier trainer which has more power, strength and support, giving them more height when they’re jumping to intercept those rebounds, but offering the stability when they land and to help them hold their space against shooters.

Where can you buy some netball trainers?

If you’re ready to invest in some netball trainers to up your game, you can browse through the range on England Netball’s store by clicking here. The brands include Mizuno, Asics and more, and there’s even junior sizes if you know any little ones that are getting into the sport.

Netball UK recently worked with Mizuno on a fantastic video about netball trainers – have a watch below!