5 tips to help your daughter bounce back

5 tips to help your daughter bounce back when she doesn’t make the netball team

The beginning of a new school year means the school sports teams are gearing up for a whole new year of training and matches against other schools. Dates for the trials are announced and discussions reach excited levels of chatter. Girls imagine representing their school, playing in the team with their friends, travelling on the coach to play at other schools and maybe even tournaments, having their names and results announced in assembly to the whole school……..

Photo source: Mariangela Castro (Pixabay)

But there’s a limited number of places — only 7 on a netball team, 14 if there’s a B team. So, sadly there will be a fair number of girls who aren’t chosen this time round. It’s especially hard to take when it’s a sport the girls really enjoy and one they have done well at. Not to mention when some of their friends and peers have been chosen for the team.

Disappointment happens a lot in sport and life in general, when the outcome of a situation doesn’t turn out the way you were hoping or planning for. It’s hard to handle as an adult and even harder as a child who feels rejected.

So, here are five tips to help your daughter cope with disappointment and learn to bounce back:

  1. Firstly, listen to her. Let her explain how she feels about not being on the team. Give her the chance to share her disappointment, pain or vent her anger. Be supportive, not critical. Reassure her that you’re happy she did her best. Your words at this vulnerable point are critical in determining whether your daughter just gives up on the sport or is able to learn to handle the situation and look for the chances to try again next time. Reassure her that there will probably be more trials during the year when there will be more opportunities to try out for the teams if she’d still like to.

2. Don’t be angry or bitter with the PE teacher for not selecting your daughter. Bite your tongue and keep your views to yourself, otherwise there’s a danger your daughter might repeat your opinion to others, which undermines the team and teacher, not to mention causes more problems.

3. Make an action plan — doing something about a tricky situation always helps you feel more positive. If she even registers a tiny bit of interest in making the team later in the year,encourage her to stay positive and try her absolute best when playing netball in her PE lessons, so she stays on the radar of the PE teacher. Suggest finding out about non-team netball at school (if there is a lunchtime/after school club), so she can keep learning new skills. If there isn’t one, then maybe she could suggest having one? She won’t be the only one in this situation. She might feel like giving up and never playing again for a few days, so don’t force the issue if she doesn’t want to.

4. Netball can still be fun outside of the school teams! There are many local netball clubs which take girls from year 5 onwards or even younger, like SistersnSport who offer fun, non-competitive skills schools at the weekends. There are also some excellent netball skills drills on the internet your daughter can try out, both on her own or with a small group of friends in the garden or park. (Try the Foundation Skills series on Netball AustraliaCrazy Catch, Ball work with SistersnSport, Trish’s Top Tips on Welsh Netball).

5. Encourage her to try different sports out too. She may not have found “her sport” yet. It’s great fun for children to experiment with different sports to find one that they really enjoy. If she sticks to just one sport, or worse, gives up on all sport after not making the team, then she’ll never have the chance to find her sports passion.

Everyone who tries their best to succeed in a sport will face challenges, competition and setbacks at some point. It’s not easy to do, but if you can help your daughters to handle disappointment with grace and dignity from an early age, you are teaching them something even more valuable than how to play netball — the life skill of resilience!

And if they need that extra inspiration, check out this inspiring video of the irrepressible Sharni Layton, captain of the Australian netball team, who “sat on the bench for five years and missed out on a lot of teams when she was younger.” Now regarded as one of the best players in the world!


Sarah Bennett is a Mum of two netball- and sport-loving daughters and a Social Media Marketing Manager for Sisters n Sport

Short Girl Problems

Short girl problems: How to succeed at netball when you’re the smallest player on the court

A common sight on the netball court for us little ones (Source: SistersnSport)

Quite a few of us have been there. You arrive at your netball match and you’re the shortest girl on the court. It happened to me at school, at my office’s netball league and Back to Netball. Don’t despair — netball isn’t just for tall girls.

Australia’s Madi Robinson ‎168 cm (5 ft 6 in) and Sasha Corbin (1 cm taller) have bossed the netball mid-courts all over the world. (OK, these two are still 6/7 inches taller than me, but they’re playing against even taller netballers, so it’s all relative!)

So, what can you learn from them? Here are 12 tactics you can use to more than make up for your lack of stature:

1. Speed — Smaller players are often quicker around the court and harder for the taller players to keep tabs on. Quick, darting moves are your best friends on court. Here’s a couple of useful drills to practise in between games from Sisters n Sport.

2. Balance — Turn that lower centre of gravity to your advantage: Throw in some nifty footwork and you’ll be able to turn and change direction that bit quicker than your taller opponents and so shake them off your tail. Try these change of direction skills from the NSW Swifts.

3. Agility and reflexes — Being that bit closer to the ground and action, your reactions HAVE to be quicker otherwise you risk getting hit in the face or being at perfect elbow height for your taller opponent. So, your reflexes and alertness are often better developed from a self-preservation viewpoint! Check out Sasha Corbin’s agility tips here.

4. Work ethic — Being that bit smaller means you have to work a bit harder to cover the ground (literally!). But build on your stamina and turn it into a positive for your team. BE the dynamic engine that drives your team!

“Here when you need” (Photo: SistersnSport)

5. Using space — “Here when you need” — the cry of the Wing Attack. Very appropriate for a shorter player often ending up as a WA or WD. There’s no point your teammates lobbing the ball up to you as if you were Megan Craig, so you’ll need to dart into space if you want to receive the ball. Again, you can turn this to your advantage by being there for a quick one-two, especially around the circle.

6. Hustle — You won’t have the luxury of waiting for the ball to be passed above other people’s heads into your hands so you’ll probably have to do a bit of hustling in the mid-court to get involved. But every great team needs a battler with a big heart to get the team going, so why can’t it be you?!

7. Great technique — Netball is all about the technique — once the ball is in your hands, your height is less of an issue: Fake passes, one-twos, mixing up the type of passes are all in your armoury just as for any other team member. If you’ve got great vision for passing, your height will be no obstacle. There’s some brilliant passes on this Netball Squad article to inspire you.

8. Keep moving — You know when you have to mark someone that doesn’t stand still and how HARD it is? Well, be that person! Even if you’re half a foot smaller, they still have to mark you. Especially annoying for them if you’re behind them and they have to chase to keep up with you. If Madi Robinson of Australia can do it, so can you!*

*Source: The Saturday Paper 21/2/15 Interview with Madi Robinson

9. Jumping and stretching — Add inches to your height! Just because you’re shorter doesn’t mean you can’t time those leaps or stretches for the ball perfectly and nick the ball back for your team!

10. Get close to your opponent — You may be several inches shorter, but your sheer presence and persistence will help put her off her stride. Put the player under pressure to make her earn every ball. Again, your stamina can take you far. Don’t give up! Check out this brilliant Netball Australia Guide to Defending for tips.

11. Reading the play — Get better at reading where the ball is going to end up: use this plus your speed to get there ahead of your opponent when the ball does rebound.

And most importantly, no. 12 — Self Belief

You might have been on the end of thoughtless comments from others at school or on the court about your height and your ability, but don’t let what other people say put you off a fantastic team game.

Take a leaf out of legendary basketballer Nate Robinson’s book. He certainly never let his 1.75 m stature put him off playing and became the NBA’s first three-time slam dunk champion. When questioned about his height, he simply replied “I’d rather have heart than height.”

  • Source: The Saturday Paper 21/2/15 Interview with Madi Robinson

17 Reasons Mums Hated Sport With A Passion

17 Reasons Mums Hated Sport With A Passion. But Now They’re Encouraging Their Own Daughters To Take It Up. Why?

PE at school for girls in the 1980s or 90s seems a bit of a marmite topic — you either loved it or hated it. We asked some of our Mum friends about their memories of their schooldays. The replies came back thick and fast, not altogether positive, but often accompanied with good excuses to get out of PE!*

Why did you dislike PE at school?

  1. Being picked last for a team
  2. Competitiveness
  3. Petrified of being injured
  4. The ordeal of the freezing showers
  5. The lack of showers
  6. Hated coming last
  7. Hated the pain from doing sport — blisters, sore muscles, stitches
  8. Hated the cold
  9. Lack of self-esteem
  10. Being too tall
  11. Being too small
  12. Military style PE teachers

13. PE teachers only friendly with the sporty girls

14. Tiny gym skirt and/or huge elasticated coloured gym knickers

15. Felt self-conscious in the changing rooms

16. Short sightedness

17. Being forced to do sports you didn’t like — no choice

Things have thankfully moved on since then but these comments backed up our thoughts when we set up Sisters n Sport (or Skills n Sport as it was) three years ago. Which is why we pride ourselves on being fun and friendly (and of course, fabulous) before everything else at our term-time weekend netball skills schools and holiday netball camps.

Yes, that’s right. Having fun and learning come above competitiveness and winning. We’ve had sweets as target practices, benchball, giggly passing the balls over our heads or through our legs, dressing up netballers and balls, 30 second Crazy Catch and shooting challenges, Mums & Dads taking on our coaches in the odd game…..

Who says netball’s no fun?

We love boosting individuals’ confidence by gently encouraging the girls to try something new or tricky. And of course, making new friends and having a good laugh while keeping fit.

Oh yes. Keeping fit and healthy.

That’s where our Mums come back in. They know how little exercise kids get these days. They know the mental and physical benefits of playing team sports. They know they want sports coached in a more nurturing, positive way in a safe, friendly environment. They know that being fit when you’re young is essential to long-term health.

As one of the Mums said to us: “I just want my daughter to play sport, to be fit and healthy and have fun along the way.”

Netballers cheering on their friends at Sisters n Sport Kingston Netball Tournament February 2016

· Not all was lost for these Mums sports-wise. The majority overcame their school PE terrors in later life and “found their fit selves” by taking up yoga, tennis, pilates, running and gym classes. Some even admitted to enjoying sport and some have even taken up netball courtesy of the @England_Netball“Back to Netball” campaign!

Sisters n Sport run term-time weekend Netball Skills Schools from School Year 2 upwards in Putney, Kingston, Reigate, Cobham and Surbiton plus Netball Camps during the school holidays.

For more information, please visit:


@sistersnsport on Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/sistersnsport on Facebook

https://www.instagram.com/sisters_n_sport/ on Instagram

Written by Sarah Bennett @sarahbennettco

Valuable lessons your children will learn from their teammates

Which sports team do you play for? 

Valuable lessons your children will learn playing the sport they love

Many of us take our children to sports activities for them to be active and to escape the lure of the TV and iPad.  The good news is that they are learning far more than the rules and tactics when playing for a team.  There are important life lessons learnt by playing a team sport – and you get to have fun with your friends whilst learning them.


When playing in a team – you learn leadership skills as well as how to work within a team.  You appreciate each other’s strengths and how without them your team wouldn’t be the same.  Friendships grow through every win and defeat and your teammates become your best friends.

Discipline & Respect:

Playing sports teaches children commitment.  Commitment to training, to working hard, to support and work hard for your teammates.  As well as the respect we learn towards our teammates, we learn to respect our opposition, our coaches and the officials – learning how to deal with authority and following the rules.

Healthy Habits:

It doesn’t feel good when you are struggling to keep up with a game or your opponent.  By playing sport from a young age,  children are taught to look after themselves and this becomes a habit, a lifestyle choice that isn’t consciously made – I want to play well and so need to train and eat well.  It especially gives girls a healthy concept of body image in an increasingly pressured society – to be strong and healthy.

Decision making and Strategies

During a match you are constantly making decisions and implementing strategies – who to pass the ball to, should I shoot now or take on the player, man to man making or a zone, which player is causing the damage and how do we stop them?  These decisions need to be made quickly and in a pressured environment; the strategies implemented sometimes work and sometimes need to abandoned for another plan – valuable lessons for a competitive workplace.

Learning to deal with Disappointment:

Children achieve success within the classroom with the formula of work hard and you will achieve good grades.  Sport is different – you can be at every training session and put up every shot, but still lose as your opponent is just better on the day.  Sport teaches us to deal with disappointment, to deal with defeat and to look at what went wrong and to improve for next time.  Sport will give children confidence not to be afraid of the competition.

Giving Girls the Confidence to Love and Enjoy Sport

Getting Girls to the Starting Line
Giving Girls the Confidence to Love and Enjoy Sport

In 2014, Helen Fraser of the GDST gave a speech on the importance of sport within education.  It highlighted the value of sport for all girls and the positive impact on their learning, their health and their future success – through the confidence they build by playing.

‘one of the barriers to women progressing in the workplace isn’t that they don’t win the race, it’s that they don’t even make it to the starting line as they lack the confidence and courage to compete.’

Fraser highlights the life skills of sport participation – ‘taking your team to a fixture, captaining it, building the strategy, enjoying victory, facing defeat – these are building life skills.’ – and ‘EY has linked women in senior management positions to experience with sports, finding that 96 percent of the highest ranking female executives played’.  And it is not due to the fact girls don’t want to play – according to the WSFF – 76% of the 15 yr old girls surveyed wanted to take part in more physical activity – when only 31% of girls were actually taking part.

Why are girls not getting to the starting line?

I wasnt a Sporty girl..

For many – sport start at school and of course – we prefer to spend time doing the things we are good at.  This is where a relationship with sport can begin – or subsequently end very quickly!

Girls want choice – some will want to be in the A team, represent their county and so on – and then the majority who want sport to be about ’having fun, being with friends and enjoying sport’  Lauren Laverne’s recent blog post “Why women need to start calling themselves ‘sporty’ ” discusses why women need to reclaim sport for themselves – take from it what they want and need.  After all – Laverne puts it perfectly – ‘Sport does not belong to fit people any more than karaoke belongs to those who can actually sing.’

More and more schools are arranging fixtures for A,B, C and D teams to offer the opportunity to all girls to compete and participate in team sport – a great foundation of leadership, team building and dealing with criticism, improving with feedback and importantly dealing with losing.  There are also more and more opportunities for girls to play socially at clubs.

What opportunities are there for girls in team sports?

You go shopping whilst Im at the game..

We have all seen the various adverts – groups of men watching sport and celebrating, playing sport and celebrating – groups of women shopping, drinking coffee or cocktails – where are the images of women enjoying team sport – not of them running for the perfect ‘beach body’?

According to WSFF ’57% of girls are active because their friends are’ – girls are more influenced by their friends than boys.  Through Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign – there have been more positive images for the girls and England Netball’s very successful Back to Netball campaign has seen thousands of women put on a netball bib and take to the court with their friends.  Girls are inspired and influenced by their own Mum – ‘mums are a powerful source of encouragement for participation in sport for younger girls’ WSFF with 35% saying they are active because their Mum is active.

To be a woman is to be fearless

One of the things that competitive sport teaches girls is a certain type of fearlessness, one that is a vital component of leadership.  Sport teaches you to be strong, to face difficulty, to dig deep when things aren’t going your way and to work hard towards a goal – but they don’t feel like lessons as you are playing a sport you love.  Girls can not only gain so much from sport – they can bring so much to the game too.

It is time for girls to ‘enjoy’ sport, to want to put on they kit, get on the court with their friends, play hard and have fun – to reclaim sport for women after all #thisgirlcan do anything AND everything!

Sisters n Sport are inspiring a generation of ‘Super Sporty Sisters’ to love sport and be fearless with their friends in enjoying it.

Come and join one of our sessions – available for all abilities from 4 years old through to 16 years old

New Sister n Sport Kit

New Sisters n Sport Training Kit – Now Available

Look the part for your Sisters n Sport Netball Classes – no matter the weather.  We have launched hoodies, leggings, shorts and training vest to go with our training t-shirts.

Hoodies & Zip Up Hoodies

Leggings and Shorts