On Sunday 15 July, England Netball with support from UK Deaf Sport held a netball training day for deaf players, coaches and umpires. The exciting event brought together players, some that haven’t played for several years, alongside coaches and umpires to look at ways to develop and improve the sport for people with hearing impairments.
Taking place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, everyone took part in a number of fun training drills and match play. They also had the opportunity to talk and discuss how coaching netball could be more inclusive and what considerations might be needed when umpiring a game with deaf players.
The day was a great success with all players commenting on how enjoyable and interesting they found the training sessions and that they look forward to playing more netball in the future.
Richard Evans, England Netball Strategic Lead for Disability, co-ordinated the event with support of UKDS. He said:
“This pilot marks the start of a journey to bring a new sport to women and girls from the deaf community. This pilot has provided great insight and will help shape and form a new and emerging sport. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank UKDS, coaches and umpires in particular for their hard work, feedback and flexibility on the day.”
UK Deaf Sport’s vision is ‘every deaf person active and inspired by sport and physical activity’. We work with partners at a national and local level to encourage more deaf people to participate in sport throughout their lives.
Valerie Copenhagen, UK Deaf Sport Head of Participation joined players on the netball court on Sunday. She said:
“This was a great opportunity to bring all parties together, players from the deaf community, netball coaches and officials to develop the sport. Using the training sessions as an open forum to feedback directly on how coaches can adapt their teaching styles was really positive and valuable for all involved.
“UK Deaf Sport is committed to ensuring that deaf people have opportunities to access a wide range of sports. We know from our participation survey in 2015 that netball was rated as one of the sports deaf people would take part in. This event was a great opportunity to take this work forward. We look forward to continuing our work with England Netball to increase the number of deaf people playing netball, and who knows perhaps have a GB team at future Deaflympics Games.”
Moving forward England Netball and UK Deaf Sport will use the feedback from this training day to create an action plan which aims to not only increase participation of deaf players into the netball game going forward but also support coaches and umpires with their training and ongoing development.
For more information about netball, please visit England Netball website.