England star Yasmin Parsons hoping lockdowns won’t affect grassroots netball and the army of ‘incredible’ coaches

England's Yasmin Parsons is hoping netball does not take a hit at grassroots level because of the pandemic.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 10:56 am
Yasmin Parsons, pictured in action for Surrey Storm during the Vitality Super League match against Saracens Mavericks, is full of praise for her sport's army of volunteer coaches. Pic: Ben Lumley.

And the Fareham-based Surrey Storm and Vitality Roses star believes the great work of volunteer coaches and top level players throughout the health crisis could prove vital in keeping youngsters motivated to remain in the sport.

Netball was handed a huge boost last week after receiving £4.2m in grant funding from the Government's Sport Winter Survival Package.

That is set to be reinvested at all levels of the game in England from the Superleague right the way down to grassroots level.

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Parsons - a former Fareham Fireflys player - remains close to the ground herself, mixing her role as a PE teacher with head of netball responsibilities at Itchen College.

The former Crofton School pupil has been mighty impressed by some of the 'incredible' work volunteer coaches at clubs nationally have been doing to try to keep players interested.

And despite her hectic schedule, Parsons has been doing her bit to keep grassroots interest up by hosting Instagram Q & A sessions, offering online coaching and occasionally providing a helping hand to England team-mate Laura Malcolm through her Maias Netball teaching platform.

Parsons said: 'Every local club that I’ve seen so far and I know nationally it’s happening as well, I’ve been really impressed by the way the coaches - some of these coaches are volunteers - but they’ve been incredible.

'Whether that be providing Zoom sessions for the girls. I work for Laura Malcolm with the Maias netball which is like online coaching so I’ve done a few specialist coaching or team coaching myself.

‘I just think the clubs have done so well to keep the clubs motivated and that’s why I love talking through my Instagram to try to get the girls focused through that as well.

'I really hope the grassroots levels do go back.'

Netball saw a huge increase in participation on the back of England's Commonwealth Games gold medal win in 2018.

Now Parsons is just hoping 'motivation' to keep playing the sport hasn't been lost by some.

The England international said: ‘When we won gold people participating in netball shot up massively. We had so many members join because they were inspired by it and the girls were inspired by it.

'I just hope this lockdown hasn’t lost their motivation. Obviously, where they’re not doing it and not competing, sometimes you can lose motivation.

‘I have been impressed with the local clubs keeping players motivated and players such as myself and other players as well who have set up online coaching sessions and free Instagram sessions and stuff like that to keep the girls motivated.

‘It’ll be great to see the grassroots come back.'