Here we are in November, a whole three months since we were asked by England Netball to deliver the formal pathway for the Yorkshire region. Talk about busy bees! Since our trials – which now feel a lifetime ago – we’ve successfully run a series of half-term camps and masterclasses, established our Academy groups from U13 up to U19, expanded our regional Hubs and Minis classes (all of which are growing in numbers week on week) AND we’ve had our first fixtures! All this, plus an extremely well-received coaches’ education class week delivered by ex-Roses player and one of the UK’s most successful players and coach, Tamsin Greenway! We’ll provide a full report on this session in the coming weeks; in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for some amazing video footage of Tamsin and the coaches in action being released shortly…
Speaking of video, for anyone who missed our recent Rhinos TV clip filmed when Roses player Natalie Haythornthwaite ran our Doncaster hub one Friday evening, here it is again https://youtu.be/NuWldJ27NCY It was great to see similar footage appearing on our local BBC and ITV news channels too, helping to spread the good word on our nation’s fastest growing female sport. Nat was always going to have an impact on our younger players and we’re thrilled to say how participation at this Hub and others in the region have increased since her visiting Yorkshire.
Elsewhere, I am delighted to welcome Emily Perry to Leeds Rhinos Netball as our first formal head pathway coach. Emily comes with an envious track record and will be a great addition to our team. A big thanks also to Francine Hall for her recent interim role as our pathway coach prior to Emily’s arrival. Francine’s experience has been vital to our smooth transition from Yorkshire and she helped us enormously with coaching during the initial days of our programme.
I am also delighted to welcome Diane Guy and Lee Davis into their roles as Hub coaches for Wakefield and Leeds respectively, and extremely pleased that Jo Hodgkiss has taken on a new role leading our U19/17s Academy. You’ll find our list of coaches and their credentials on our website here. It gives you an idea of the range, depth and breadth of the coaching team we have in place, which is brilliant in itself and of huge benefit to our athletes.
Whilst we formally announced our Academy and Elite Squads this month – here’s the media release, in case you missed it – in reality, our athletes have been training hard since September in preparation for this season’s fixtures. We’ll be announcing our U19 NPL competition squad over the coming days so watch this space! You will, of course, be kept up to speed on all of our fixtures, particularly the home games, where we encourage spectators to come and cheer us on!
We’ve also been busy promoting Hubs to engage with athletes across a wider range of locations, and the numbers at each continue in the right direction – upward! We’ve had a growing interest in our Mini Netball classes too, which is fabulous since it introduces girls into the game during primary school. We have spaces available at both our Hubs and our Minis classes, with some offering a free introductory taster session; you’ll find more information on all of our classes on our Hubs and Minis pages.
Next week’s review meeting with England Netball on 3 December is an exciting prospect for us all, to ensure we are making progress with our performance pathway delivery. This includes a visit from the former England U19 coach and current head of England’s performance pathway, who will be observing Emily as she coaches an U19 Elite session, as well as discussing our programme in full. We’re proud of all we’re doing to make our game accessible to more young people and the feedback we have received to date on the programme has been nothing but positive. We’re confident on more of the same if we stay focused, determined and hard-working; and thanks to all of you, our followers, for the support you’re giving us on our journey together – it means a lot.
Director of Leeds Rhinos Netball