As outdoor sports facilities reopen and organised outdoor sports kick off again, England Netball confirmed that grassroots netball was also restarting from Monday 29 March. Sky Sports chatted with star Surrey Storm player Karyn Bailey about the last 12 months.
Australian shooter Karyn also works as a part-time netball coach, teaching girls in two schools the skills to enjoy the sport and get the most out of playing in a team. She remained in England during the pandemic, as she would have faced lengthy quarantine periods upon returning to Australia.
Karyn has managed to continue some of her coaching duties by running Zoom classes, in an effort to keep the girls motivated. When the rules eased slightly to allow two individuals to meet for exercise, she resumed some 1-2-1 coaching, practicing ball passes and throws with the girls.
Karyn talks about the importance of sport for teaching kids essential skills such as working in a team, and learning self-discipline and time management, which are sometimes overlooked. She emphasises that sport is about much more than taking care of your physical health; it has a wider impact on your motivation levels and identity.
She said: “You look at the wellbeing side and the emotional side and that plays an absolutely critical role in it, but for me it’s that social aspect for the kids. If they’ve had a hard day at school then they get to go and be within their club, be around their friends, unwind and enjoy themselves. I think that’s such a critical aspect.”
Karyn talks about her own struggle during lockdown, as her self-identity as an elite netball player was pulled from under her feet. She says that the whole experience of the pandemic has highlighted just how important playing sport and remaining active is, and how lucky she is to work in a supportive sporting environment.
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