Netball Queensland (NQ) would like to provide a position statement addressing concerns around expectations placed on young netballers involved in representative netball programs.
Netball is one of the largest participation sports for females in Australia and to ensure that this remains the case, retention of participants is critical. Participant retention is the number one performance indicator for netball in Queensland across all competitions. If participants are enjoying the experience, are challenged to an appropriate level, can achieve some success and feel like they are learning or improving they are more inclined to continue to participate. If all of these objectives are being met, it is highly likely that a committed team will also be achieving regular success on the court as well.
Netball Queensland in no way condones any behaviour that in any way forces participants to give up playing other sports, or issues players, coaches or others with ultimatums relating to their position on teams. Netball Queensland, however, does appreciate there is great value in participants appreciating the value of committing to a team and would encourage players, parents and coaches to do this. The greater issue at hand would appear to be determining “how many” teams a young player can commit to simultaneously.
Netball Queensland would encourage parents and players to commit to no more than three (3) regular weekly competitions at once. Bearing in mind that for every game the child plays there will be multiple training sessions per week involved. In addition to this a player might be involved in school and Association representative program(s) which also require regular weekly training as part of the preparation.
To assist parents in determining what is manageable Netball Queensland would encourage the following:
- Identify the activities/sports your child will participate in this season/year
- Identify clearly ALL the regular commitments associated with these activities/sports
- Identify the projected costs associated with all of these activities.
- Identify the one off events or carnivals that your child may participate in if selected.
- Identify your expectations around other commitments such as school, part time work and family time.
Based on all of this information, make a decision about which activities and teams to commit to for the season/year. Of course children, will want to play as much sport as possible, however there comes a time when, as parents we need to guide them as to how much is too much and the risk of them becoming burnt out and walking away from sport becomes a greater risk.
From a talent identification perspective, there is no need to play in every competition available. The scouting system is broad and your child only has to play in one of the targeted events during the year to be identified. The targets events are Queensland State Netball League, Queensland Premier League, State Secondary Schoolgirls Championships, QISSN, 16U State Titles, the local Emerging Talent Programs (24 around Queensland) and the 15U Age group at State Age Championships. Netball Queensland are only looking at players turning 15 or older in the current year, so players any younger are NOT being talent identified regardless. Inevitably, players with talent will be seen.
Please refer to the Netball New Zealand – Player Development Guidelines as an example of providing appropriate levels of time per week for organised sport.