Parents ‘Struggling’ To Get Kids Away From Screens

We all know the benefits of getting out and about and being more physically active, whether that’s by signing up for Kingston netball lessons, kicking a ball about or simply just going for a long walk around your local area – but it seems that there are many parents out there still struggling to convince their children to step away from their computer and phone screens, and start being more active instead.

Chief executive of Sport England Tim Hollingsworth has come out and said that helping parents encourage their children to be more physically active is one of his key challenges, with a new study due to be released that will examine the levels of activity among young people, the BBC reports.

Mr Hollingsworth explained to BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek programme that he too faces the same struggles as other mums and dads, as the father of two teenage boys… and he’s now going to try to make sport more accessible for all.

“How do you make sport more accessible? Can we make booking a sporting facility or going and finding out what’s available to you as easy as TripAdvisor makes it for hotels and restaurants?

“We do have to think differently about what activity is, what exercise can be, because it’s not right to suggest that everyone has the time, the space, the opportunity, the finances to do sport in a purely traditional way,” he went on to say.

It seems that an increasing number of people are becoming more interested in leading an active lifestyle and getting off the sofa to move around more. Recent Sport England research shows that nearly 300,000 more people are now enjoying 150 minutes of physical activity each week and 116,400 fewer people are now considered inactive (which means doing over 30 minutes of activity every week).

If you’re keen to start moving about more or encouraging your kids to do the same, starting netball classes could be a really fun way to go about it. Not only your health and fitness improve, but you could make lots of new friends into the bargain.

Here at Sisters n Sport, we run a series of different programmes aimed at people of all ages so everyone can take part. If you have very little ones at home, why don’t you look into your Netball Tots class, which is the perfect way to introduce your kids to this particular sport.

We’ll teach them all the key skills involved, from throwing and catching to speed, footwork and agility through lots of fun games, as well as encouraging them to learn about teamwork and collaboration. Parent participation is also required for our preschool classes so you and your brood will have a fantastic time, learning and playing together.


‘How the Fast 5 Netball Tournament inspired me & lots of other young netballers’

‘How the Fast 5 Netball Tournament inspired me & lots of other young netballers’

On Saturday 13th October, I went to watch the British Fast 5 Netball at the Copper Box at the Olympic Park. In my opinion, Fast 5 Netball is a fast paced, inspiring sport when you don’t know what will happen next – one minute you could be losing 15-0 then the next you could be winning 30-15. It’s not a game where if your team is winning by a huge difference you can relax because you never know what will happen next and that is what makes it more exciting and different from other sports.

The atmosphere was fantastic but what stood out to me was not seeing lots of women playing netball, not that it was being filmed by Sky Sports (although both of these were amazing!); what stood out to me was seeing lots of girls supporting their teams – Wasps, Mavericks or Surrey Storm or any other team. They had come to support their team, just as people go to support their football or rugby teams.

Another brilliant thing at the Fast 5 was seeing the players playing their hearts out but then despite being probably very tired, they all took the time to sign autographs. They may not realise it but it means so much to girls my age (11) to meet our sport heroines. Who knows if watching and meeting these netballers might lead to the start of a new generation of female sports stars?

If you have not been to watch a netball match live yet, although you have started playing at school, I would recommend going along to one because it is really inspiring. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it” as the 20×20 campaign says.

It was honour to speak to Sharni Layton and to be allowed to touch Rachel Dunn’s Golden Ball Award for the Player of the Tournament (well done to her). Now all I want to do is to go out and practise lots of shooting!




Natasha Bennett, GA, Age 11


Going to the game…She needs to see it

‘If she can’t see it, she can’t be it’

On Saturday I took my 5 year old daughter to the Copper Box for the British Fast5 Netball Allstars.  I was excited for her to go to a big arena and so with my sister and Mum we headed down to London on the train.

I felt this was a big deal – I was excited about how far the game had come with a huge showcase at The Copper Box, excited she could see some amazing players, be inspired by fantastic athletes and see some close competition. Annie was also very excited – Thunder Bear in hand –she was off to watch her favourite sport and support her team – but for her it was no biggie!  She was going to the game – just like her brother does.

She wasn’t thinking about how great it was to see female athletes at a great venue, or that Sky Sports were showing the event, or how many seats were filled or that it was such a professional, well-organised event – (excellent job by Matchroom) – she was just going to watch Thunder – going to watch her team play.

That’s when I realised we were going in the right direction – making going to the game, normal.

Annie loved the whole day – when Josie Huckle sat next to us and chatted to her about the game – she was awe-struck, when Caroline O Hanlon had a photo with her – she couldn’t stop smiling, when she met Karen Greig and Sharni Leyton – she beamed that these players and coaches had spoken to her – she wanted to be a netballer.  Through watching the awesome talent on display she was inspired by these great athletes and through how approachable they were she believed it was actually possible to be them one day.

Twitter erupted throughout the day – I mean did anyone mention Sharni Leyton was playing… Everyone was talking about the awesome talent on court in Sharni Leyton, Cat Tuivaiti, Ash Brazill, Anna Thompson, Stacey Francis, Shelby-Ricketts and the ridiculous shooting from Rachel Dunn and Karyn Bailey.  Everyone was talking about what a brillant atmosphere there was and what a great event it was.  We all showed up and it was great!  We all came away thinking – we need to do this again!

On Monday, the #20×20 campaign from the Federation of Irish Sport was launched – it shows strong girls who love sport.  They love playing and they love watching – but their role models are all men.  Through the strong tagline – ‘If she can’t see it, she can’t be it’ – it makes us realise that as well as the media – we need to make sure our girls need to SEE elite women in their sports – so they can aspire to be them and believe it is possible.

Through the successful campaigning from pioneering sportswomen and organisations, there are now more opportunities to take our sons and daughters to the women’s game, to expose them to the joy and anguish of sport, the wins and the losses, the role models and the inspirations.  Through the ShowUp campaign we know we need to turn up to the game and turn on the TV to show that we want to see these events  – numbers are the key!

As we arrived back in Chester, Thunder ball under one arm and Thunder Bear in the other – I asked my daughter if she had fun – she looked up at me and said ‘Yes!  Can we go and watch girl’s football next?’

My heart burst – I just need to make sure it’s a United game….



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Five Reasons Why…….Fast5 Netball

5 Reasons Why……You MUST NOT miss The British Fast5 Netball All-Stars – 13th October 2018

Fast5 Netball returns to London as The British Fast5 Netball All-Stars hits the Copper Box Arena on Saturday, October 13 2018 – it looks to be awesome! The best of British netball will again be showcased along with the announcement of some HUGE names from International netball!

Defending champions Loughborough Lightning will be challenged by Wasps Netball, Manchester Thunder, Team Bath, benecosMavericks, Severn Stars, Surrey Storm and UWS Sirens – and it is not just pride and on the line – winner takes £25,000 all the way to bank!

Fast5 will be exactly as the name suggests – FAST and just 5 players on court per team!

But why is the 2018 British Fast5 Netball All-Stars not to be missed…

1. International Superstar, All-Stars!

In July 2018, Sharni Leyton – the Australian Powerhouse who brought fierce, fun and honesty to the netball court as well as unbelievable talent retired from both domestic and international netball. The netball world were devastated that we would no longer be able to watch this unique talent take the court…..but Sharni wouldn’t leave before saying goodbye and Fast5’s will be the perfect showcase!

Sharni will take the court for Surrey Storm and you will likely hear her before you see her as she spurs on her team and enjoys her final netball run-out.  Sharni will be joined by:

Cat Tuivaiti – Ex NZ International and Adelaide Thunderbirds – taking the court for UWS Sirens.

Ashleigh Brazill – Aussie Diamond, Magpies Netballer and AFL Player – will be donning the Severn Stars dress (so good Ash plays two sports!)

Kiwi Duo of Anna Thompson and Te Huinga Reo Shelby Rickit will be bring the Manchester Thunder to the tournament.

Super Netball Grand Finalist and England Superstar Stacey Francis will be swapping the Green for the Blue and Gold of TeamBath.

Do I need to list anymore???  The chance to see all of these players take to the court with our Super League favourites – go buy those tickets!

2. Five Players – No Wings!

If you are a team that’s fast on the break – this is a game for you!  No wings means players are on the move more, create faster attacking plays and there is the opportunity for more flying interceptions.  So basically its pretty spectacular to watch as this is not a possession game – it is a chance to showboat – and who doesn’t love a showboat!

3. The Fast and the Furious – Coaches are in total control!

We have all seen the ‘sprained finger’ that needs iced and sudden limp which requires substitution when a team are on a bad run in the third quarter – but there is no need for the Oscar worthy performances in Fast5.  On October 13th – Roll on Subs!  As many changes – whenever the coach wants!  So there is no one getting tired, no drop in pace and if you don’t bring it, you are off!

4. The Long Bomb – All about the Shooters!

We have all heard the roar of the crowd when a 3-pointer lands in the last second of a basketball game – but what if you could score a 5 pointer?  Well you can in Fast 5!  You can score 1, 3 and 5 points – which means shooters mean business!  We don’t want safe here – we want flair!!

5. Golden Buzzer – The fight for the buzzer!

So shooters can score 1,3,5 points – but did I mention they can be doubled in POWER PLAY?
Each team has the ability to double their points for a 2 minute period of play.
This must be used during the first 10 mins of play and can’t be used if the other team is in a period of power play.  It is all about the tactics of the coach and the race to the buzzer (as long as they remember to press it…)

Get yourself to the Copper Box for an amazing event – but if you can’t make it – catch it on Sky Sports – 13th October 2018.

@Fast5allstars have given Sisters n Sport ‘Four Pairs of Courtside Tickets’ to give away. Head over to our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to enter!

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Top Netball Quotes for #IWD2018

In honour of International Women’s Day 2018, the team at SistersnSport raided our favourite social media posts over the last couple of years to find our most inspiring quotes and stories from netballers all over the world.

With examples of amazing resilience, teamwork, self-esteem, determination, these Super Sporty Sisters are fantastic sports role models. To us, they are what netball and team sport are all about!

To all 16 of you, thank you for inspiring us! ❤

Happy #IWD2018 !

1. Helen Housby, England & NSW Swifts

On netball:

Via BBC Get Inspired

2. Caitlin Bassett, Australia & Sunshine Coast Lightning

On being tall:

“Being the tallest girl in the school was tough.….just because I’m tall doesn’t mean I can’t hear. At that age you just want to fit in. But being unique is a strength and I want to use my strength to inspire others.”

Via Samsung Australia #RiseAboveIt

3. Ama Agbeze, England & Adelaide Thunderbirds

On belief:

“You only get belief from actually doing the work beforehand. Then you’ll have confidence in yourself. But you cannot have that belief in something if you’re not putting in the work. It gives you that drive to succeed.”

Via Sky Sports

4. Pamela Cookey, ex-England & Team Bath

On how to be to be the best you can be:

“Never limit yourself. We don’t know what our bodies can do and what our minds can achieve.”

Via BBC Get Inspired

5. Sharni Layton, Australia & Collingwood Magpies

On drive, determination and hard work:

“I missed out on a lot of teams when I was younger. I sat on the bench for 5 years. I didn’t believe in myself. Didn’t think I was good enough to be there. But I was like you know what — cut it out and focus. So, I did extra sessions at the gym and on court work. It just gave me confidence that if I applied myself I could achieve what I wanted to. And then it went to “now I’m playing and now I want to be the best.”

“I look at myself in the mirror in the eye before a game and say “you got this” and whoever you are playing today “has not got this.”

Via Samsung Australia #ProveThemWrong

6. Jade Clarke, England & Wasps

On why she loves team sport:

Via TeamupEngland Twitter

7. Susan Pettitt, Australia & Giants Netball

On being selected for the Commonwealth Games:

“DREAMS DO COME TRUE If you had of asked me 3 years ago if this dream was achievable I would’ve had my doubts. I’m so proud of my persistence, hard work and the unwavering support of those closest to me. We did it. COMM GAMES BABY!! “

Via Twitter

8. Kadeen Corbin, England & Team Bath

On Passion:

“If you’re really passionate about the game, you’ll always put your best foot forward. Whatever position you’re put in, that’s the passion you have to get the turnovers, to get the shots in, and pass the ball to your team-mates.

That’s the passion you need to have for the game, and the drive you need to succeed. If you’ve got that passion then you’ll always be there at training and you’ll be a real team player.”

Via Sky Sports

9. Paige Hadley, Australia & NSW Swifts

On never giving up:

Via Samsung Australia #NeverGiveUp

10. Sasha Corbin, England & Mavericks

On life skills learned from playing netball:

“Netball has been fantastic for life skills: It’s given me confidence — I’m able to work in a team, I’m able to sometimes lead — discipline and the determination to hit goals and targets that we’ve set.”

Via BBC Bitesize

11. Laura Geitz, Australia & Queensland Firebirds

On self-doubt and being brave:

“I made a promise to myself at 18 years of age that whenever anything came across the table I would always say yes to it before I’d think about it because 9 times out of 10 it would push me outside my comfort zone & those experiences are the best.”

On staying active in sport:

Via Australian Sports Commission

12. Fiona Moore-McGrath, ex-Scotland & Sirens

On netball role models:

“For me and the rest of the girls to be able to provide a little bit of inspiration to these kids (at Sirens home games) is just fantastic. Hopefully it makes them think well if she can do it, why can’t I? There’s no reason why they can’t follow in our footsteps and do it even better than us and I hope they realise that.”

Via Herald Scotland

13. Caitlin Thwaites, Australia & Collingwood Magpies

On how netball can help you feel better about yourself:

“I think netball and sport for me has always been a place where I can almost have a bit of self-worth from my ability on the sports field and so that has been really amazing.”

“It doesn’t actually matter what is going on in my life elsewhere, it is almost like you can put on a uniform and be someone else for a little while.”

Via ABC Australia

14. Sharni Layton, Australia & Collingwood Magpies

On tips for netball beginners:

“Enjoy yourself and your time learning a new sport and making new friends. Don’t put any pressure or expectations on yourself. You can want to get better, but do this by giving your all at every training session and game and everything else will look after itself. Remember to be you and let your personality shine whilst playing!”

Via Real Insurance

15. Ama Agbeze & Mia Ritchie, England:

On THAT Netball is cool/uncool debate in 2017:

“I’m @amaagbeze I captain the @England_Netball Roses and I’m proud to play netball. Cool or not! #NetballOnTheRise

Via Twitter

16. Peace Proscovia, Uganda & Loughborough Lightning

On how netball changed her life:

“I look at netball like a pillar to lean on, all that I am today is because of netball.”

Via Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

17. Camilla Buchanan

On spreading the netball love in Uganda in 2018:


18. Liz Watson

On being an Aussie Diamond:


19. Lisa Alexander

The importance of being a role model:


20. Liz Ellis

On the changing landscape of women’s sport:


If you’d like some more netball inspiration in your daily life, please follow Sisters n Sport on Twitter, on Facebook and Instagram!

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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