All About Netball started their first league at Cams Hill School in Fareham only three years ago.
In that time, they have increased from six original teams to four divisions each of eight teams, as well as two junior divisions.
The league was started by Helen Keet and Dee Parker when the club they were playing for increased its numbers and some ladies wanted to play in a team but in a more relaxed environment.
Keet and Parker, although knowing what they were looking for, didn’t find anything that suited, so started a league that met their needs.
There was a criteria that the pair had in mind – firstly an emphasis on fun was hugely important.
They sat down with England Netball staff to ask questions and take guidance on how this could work but still keep basic rules and therefore safety in place.
Players were asked to affiliate to England Netball, giving them insurance, a governing body to refer to – and a handy magazine every three months.
The England Netball rules were to be adhered to, everyone knowing where they stood – literally!
The only rule that was that the teams could ‘borrow’ a player from another team.
This first season was run through the winter which can see player numbers decrease and teams fold due to lack of players.
But it was a huge success and the following summer season saw another 10 teams join, increasing the league to two divisions.
During this time England Netball had started their back to netball sessions which meant an increase in participation and new players wanting to join or even start teams.
The league offered somewhere for them to start.
They didn’t have to wear a ‘kit’ just safe clothing – the league even provided, and still does, all the umpires, balls and even bibs to use.
It meant new players had very little financial outlay.
Keet was then approached to run some junior netball for a local club.
So All About Netball took them under their wing as well.
In similar fashion to the adults, the league rules are very relaxed.
‘We want juniors playing netball’, said Keet.
‘If one player is 13 and she trains with her friends, who are 12, we let her play in the team with her friends.
‘We want to build confidence and therefore skill, before they go off to play in the more elite junior leagues or even adult ones.’
So successful has it been, the league is ever growing.
As a spin-off from this success, clubs have been formed, coaches are qualifiying and there are more than 500 participants now – with another league forming in Crestwood, Eastleigh in September.
For details on All About Netball Leagues, please email Dee Parker at email@example.com.