Netball: Giving Girls That Fearless Edge

December 11, 2014

We look in to the impact that sport has on a child’s development and future potential both on and off the court.
Choosing a school for your child is a very important decision. When you add moving countries, and the possibility of it
only being a short term move, it can become an even more daunting task. However when adding moving countries and the possibility of it only being a short term move it can become a daunting task. How will your child settle in to a new culture? Will the culture shift make it difficult to reintegrate? International schools have recognised this dilemma,
by offering many different academic qualifications that can complement short-term attendance and the requirements needed for the different universities around the world. What else do international schools do to integrate students into the school life which eases the transition?

Fancy a game?

According to the Swiss Academy for Development, ‘physical activity and playing together encourages teamwork,
promotes self-esteem and improves communication skills.’ Sport has always been a great way to make friends and to
connect with a new community – a group of people from different backgrounds sharing a common interest.
Relocate Magazine recognises the importance of sport in the settling of children and families in their new school and home, with it being a priority for international schools to ‘have a sports programme that is particularly attuned to the wider needs of relocating families’.
Netball and sport provides confidence to compete, determination to follow our dreams and the means to settle into a new environment quickly and confidently. Introducing ‘home’ sports into International schools adds continuity to the child’s education, development and social network. Eddy Schlachter (Sports Manager at ACS Cobham) has seen the benefits of maintaining a wide range of sports for the varied nationalities – ‘it gives students the chance to get into a familiar routine by picking up sports they enjoyed playing in their home country’.
Sport can bring reassurance when everything else has changed. On arriving at a new school, joining a familiar sports team can help build confidence and form new friendships making their move easier to adjust to. Many schools in Switzerland are now embracing the traditional British/Commonwealth sports such as Rugby, Hockey and Cricket –the staple sports of the schools in UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Whilst the new sports being introduced are still weighted in favour of the boys, one of the most exciting British/Commonwealth sports fast gaining popularity, momentum and success in Switzerland and the International schools is Netball.

Sisterhood in Sport – Building confidence and resilience in girls

Netball is a fast, exciting, true team sport which involving running, jumping, throwing and catching – with seven players per team, with each player having their own role and responsibilities. As a predominantly female sport, any girl who has grown up in the UK, Australia or New Zealand will remember netball being a key part of their introduction to sport in school.
And it’s clear that it helps. Helen Fraser (Chief Executive of the Girls School Day Trust in the UK) believes that ‘girls should take part in competitive sport to build confidence and resilience’. Netball is the perfect sport for girls to be part of a team, to lead, take on roles and responsibilities as well as to prepare, create strategies and analyse.
In fact an Ernst & Young report ‘has linked women in senior management positions to experience with sports, finding that 96 percent of the highest ranking female executives played sports, 55 percent of them at university level’ and Fraser
reports that ‘high proportions of female executives believe sports made them more disciplined, resilient and competitive in their careers’.
Playing netball enhances decision-making, leadership and goal setting skills. Within the netball team, each player has their own role and area of the court within to work – each position determined by the strengths of the player – similar to that of the work place. It encourages the girls to work together as no one player can dominate and win the game – a pure
team sport. It is the perfect arena for girls to be competitive and learn how to come back from defeat. Within the classroom, girls have long demonstrated that they are capable of achievement and success – but this is a more controlled environment – put in the work, learn the material and you will succeed. Within sport, girls learn that sometimes there is someone out there who can outperform you on the day, and they learn how to reflect, regroup and come back stronger.
It can only be a good thing therefore that this exciting sport is spreading its influence in Switzerland. Through my own
experience in coaching in some of the international schools and running several Summer Camps in the country, it is has been remarkable to see the development of the girls – both individually and as a group. Their communication skills
improve as does their confidence, new friendships emerge and they fall in love with a game that they can play in Switzerland, when they return home and or when they leave for University. Therefore, through camps and clinics we want to provide the girls with a fun and exciting new approach to sport and we believe netball is the perfect game.
It gives them ‘the chance to be active, to be a leader, to be part of a team, to win, to lose, to make mistakes, to learn from them, to make friends and most of all to be the best they can be.’ Fraser outlines that ‘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’.
Netball provides girls with the confidence to compete, determination to follow their dreams and the means to settle into a new environment quickly and confidently. We want to inspire and encourage as many girls to love the game and for girls to be confident and equipped to stand on that starting line.
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