Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE VISION FOR LEEDS RHINOS NETBALL?

Our ambition is to secure entry into the Vitality Netball Superleague and be one of the best Superleague Clubs both on and off court. We will enter U17, U19 and U21 athletes into National Performance Competitions and U15 athletes into School Games. Our objective for 2018/19 is to run the best pathway possible, generate more netballing opportunities, work with partners on creating a match night facility and grow the profile of our sport.

WHAT WAS DELIVERED IN THE FIRST YEAR (2017/18)?

We delivered U13, U15 and High Performance Academies, Hubs, workshops, camps, and festivals for hundreds of athletes; the best way to see this activity is on our Twitter account. We were invited to apply for Superleague and received very positive feedback on our application, and were subsequently awarded the England Netball Pathway for 2018/19 based on the strength of our bid. The media release which describes our position is here https://www.therhinos.co.uk/2018/07/16/leeds-rhinos-netball-celebrate-first-year-anniversary/

WHAT WILL THE LEEDS RHINOS NETBALL PROGRAMME INVOLVE IN 2018/19?

Leeds Rhinos Netball will run a number of Academies for performance and Hubs for development during the 2018/19 season, plus activity for younger athletes. The two Elite Squads, U17 and U19 will be formed from the Academies and will compete in the National Performance League. Initial entry into the programme is by trials, but with some further movement occurring across the programme mid-season based on progress and feedback from coaches and to meet our performance objectives. The pathway programme complements existing activity run by the counties, districts and clubs.

Leeds Rhinos Netball will also deliver camps and workshops throughout the season, open to any athlete who meets the specific criteria and wants to improve their netball. Details are available on the website and promoted on social media. Leeds Rhinos Netball plans to expand its links with schools to encourage greater participation and identify new talent. Coach education programmes will continue to be offered for performance coaches.

WHEN WILL THE 2018/19 PROGRAMMES BE ADVERTISED AND DELIVERED?

Academy trials will be held on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September 2018. Full details will be confirmed in due course. Hub trials will be announced during September 2018. U19 and U17 Academy programmes will start mid-September and finish in July 2019. U15 and U13 Academy programmes will start mid-September and finish in the Spring 2019 (depending on facilities and school exams).  Hubs will run termly, with details being announced during September 2018.  Precise details of training times, venues, coaches and trial window will be announced toward the end of July 2018.

IS THIS PROGRAMME EXCLUSIVELY FOR YORKSHIRE-BASED ATHELTES?

No, this programme is open to all athletes, although we would ask that parents, athletes and coaches consider safeguarding and well-being where significant travel is involved.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS PATHWAY AND WHAT REMAINS IN PLACE?

Much of the programme and links to other aspects such as counties and clubs will remain the same, because we will be delivering against the standard Service Level Agreement with England Netball. However, there will also be differences as we are progressing this within the context of an ambitious professional sporting club. 

County, satellite and district structures will continue in line with the recent England Netball Review, to be delivered mainly to U13 and U15, but with variations across the four counties in Yorkshire.  Athletes with questions about county issues will need to approach their local county lead, or the relevant website.

The Rhinos model is similar to Yorkshire Netball in terms of its shape i.e. Academies for U19, U17, U15 and U13, which ran during 2017/18.  Based on feedback U13 will train weekly rather than monthly and will finish earlier.  There will also be additional elite (competition) squads at U17 and U19.  There is strong evidence of demand and talent.

The difference in the Pathway will be in the nature of its delivery as we bring high performance knowledge from a range of coaches, namely, Anna Carter and Maggie Birkenshaw – with extensive experience of Superleague, Grand Final, Fast Five and U21s.  They bring extensive learning from the Academy systems in other professional sports. Leeds Rhinos brings a wealth of expertise of sports science academia and research there is a strong desire to add the netball dimension to this.

Localised training Hubs will be based mostly in schools. The development in these will complement county, satellite and district structures. Netball will also be delivered as part of its multi-sport offer to schools through the people who have received training in HiFive.

The key to success for athletes and parents will come in viewing this as a whole system, and for communication between coaches across the different programmes to remain fluent. It is inevitable that there will be date clashes at times, but we will do everything possible to avoid this through upholding open channels of communication.

WHAT WILL THE ACADEMY AND ELITE PROGRAMMES COVER?

We are running a performance programme for players identified as having elite athlete potential. Our aim is to create an environment where each athlete will be fully immersed in a tailored programme where they have the opportunity to maximise their potential through on-court and off-court support. On-court support will include technical, tactical and positional skills alongside strength and conditioning. Off-court support will develop through the age groups, with greater emphasis at the older age-range, and will encompass the likes of nutritional and lifestyle guidance as well as mentor support and confidence-building activities. Our older academy players will be supported off-court by a Player Experience Manager. A highly experienced coaching team will lead our weekly sessions. 

HOW MUCH FLEXIBILITY WILL THERE BE WITHIN THE RHINOS SYSTEM AND ACROSS THE WIDER CLUBS AND COUNTIES?

Within the Rhinos Academies Training and Elite squads, there will be a lot of liaison and periodically athletes are assessed for progression or a return from injury. Regular festivals will allow athletes across all aspects to test themselves against each other, as well as having some fun and trying other things such as rugby-based skills. Trials for Academies will be open to all, and so provide another opportunity for us to find new talent.  County performance leads and Leeds Rhinos Director of Netball will liaise periodically and communicate on athletes when necessary. 

HOW MUCH EMPHASIS WILL BE PLACED ON LOOKING FOR NEW TALENT?

We will be driven by a performance culture and each athlete being their best. We are eager to find new talent by opening doors to netball for athletes who wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to engage with the game. The multi-level experience of our coaches means they are excellent at spotting talent, so this is an exciting time.

HOW MANY ATHLETES WILL BE IN THE PROGRAMME?

U13, U15, U17, U19 Academy training will consist of approximately 25 athletes. U17 and U19 Elite squads will consist of approximately 15 athletes (since these will be competition squads). Hubs will consist of around 30 athletes.

HOW DO AGE GROUPINGS WORK IN NETBALL?

All National Competitions and Pathways operate on a two-year age grouping. There is always athletes from a wide age-range in competitions, which for some athletes can feel unfair. This is great practice for them in terms of their preparation for Seniors netball, where it is ‘Open Age’ and they will be competing against athletes much older than them.

England Netball National Clubs and National Schools Competitions are run on U14 and U16 age groupings. These competitions typically run between September and August, i.e. an academic year.

England Netball National Performance League (NPL) Competitions, which connect to the Superleague franchises, are run on U17, U19 and U21 age groupings. England Roses Academy also runs on a U17 and U19 basis. NPL and Roses programmes run between January and December, i.e. a calendar year. This means that some athletes born between September and December are ‘age trapped’, ie.e. they are trapped within a group which feels too old for them.

Local leagues in Yorkshire are run on the basis of U14/16, with a U12 Regional Competition. These run across the academic year, so they remain in line with National competitions. In some areas, such as the North West, there are local leagues in yearly groupings i.e.U13, U14, U15 and U16, with the relevant age groupings feeding into the National Competitions.

WHAT ABOUT AGE BANDING?

There are sometimes exceptional athletes who play up an age group, i.e. they play for U19s when their age qualifies them for U17s. Where this is the case, we follow the England Netball Age Banding rules – please refer to the England Netball website for details.

HOW WILL LEEDS RHINOS NETBALL PLAYERS BE ASSESSED AND WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Experienced selectors will assess athlete performance and potential at trials day, where a mixture of drills and skills plus match play is expected. Selectors will be looking for athletic ability, technical skills and game sense as well as assessing an athlete’s potential to develop. We want to uncover athletes who love the game, value teamwork, have a desire for hard work and possess the motivation to learn and improve.

WHAT WILL LEEDS RHINOS NETBALL ENGAGEMENT WITH SCHOOLS LOOK LIKE?

In the first instance, engagement will be focussed on Leeds schools drawing on the links and relationships through the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, and where there are existing relationships with schools in other areas. 

WHEN WILL YOU GET A SUPERLEAGUE CLUB?

It is impossible to say at this stage. This depends on an opening into the league becoming available and also on a range of other factors such as a match night venue. We had great feedback about our bid for the 2019 season and are extremely positive about our chances for creating a Superleague club moving forward. 

IT SEEMS LIKE A LOT IS CHANGING AND DEVELOPING – HOW DO I STAY IN TOUCH?

Yes, it is an emerging picture and we are keen to expand and develop to meet the needs and aspirations of our athletes. It is a transitional time as we move into the new programme. The best way to stay in touch is to subscribe to our newsletters at http://www.leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk/enewsletter/ Given the audience we are serving is largely social media savvy, we also use Twitter and Facebook for our communications so please follow us on these channels:

WHAT WILL THESE CHANGES MEAN FOR ME?

This is impossible to answer since the individual athlete’s journey is different. Each athlete has a unique set of circumstances, such as age, rate of development, nature of experience, personal circumstances, family circumstances, preferred approach to training, preferred coaches, logistical issues.  Some athletes will progress very logically through the various elements, while others will miss elements out, and some may be late developers and progress periodically. Some athletes may want to be involved in everything possible e.g. be in a county team and a Hub or Academy. Others may make decisions based on practical issues such as travel, or just want to prioritise one aspect of their game. We will not always be able to avoid date clashes for training nights and trials, and occasionally athletes may have to choose one over another, but we hope that this will be kept to a minimum.

HOW CAN I BECOME INVOLVED?

If you are interested in coaching or support coaching, officiating, helping at events, or being a team manager, please let us know by emailing info@leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk. Similarly, if you are a school interested in activity, please email info@leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk

WHEN WILL THE MORE PRACTICAL INFORMATION BE AVAILABLE ABOUT COACHES, TRAINING TIMES, PRICES, VENUES, AND TRIAL DEADLINES?

We expect that this information will be available during August. To receive regular updates please subscribe to our newsletter here: http://www.leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk/enewsletter/

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE A QUESTION WHICH HAS NOT BEEN ANSWERED HERE?

Please send your questions to info@leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk. If considered a common question, we will add it to the FAQ. If it is a specific question deemed a one-off, we will do our best to signpost you toward someone who can help you – which will most likely be a coach for any on court issues, or our admin team for any off court issues.