NetSetGO has been running in Narrandera for the last nine weeks. NetSetGO, which is open to both girls and boys, is designed to help primary school-aged children have a positive introduction to netball, and learn the basic skills of the sport.
“The program is for children aged five to ten, and it’s focussed on developing their netball skills,” explained the Narrandera NetSetGO co-ordinator Michelle Donaldson.
“It goes for an hour on a Tuesday afternoon for ten weeks.”
NetSetGO is usually split into three categories, although the Narrandera program is divided into two, with younger infants-age primary children in one program and older children in the other.
While Ms Donaldson has been organising the program, it has been largely implemented this year by local high school students.
“They’re working on a volunteer basis, so these kids turn up every week for an hour and just run the sessions, which is really good.” The high school students also play competitive netball in the senior competitions.
“All my helpers – all of the ones helping the little kids are in the under 13s or under 15s Eagles side. All my older ones play in the senior Eagles as well.”
Many of the older helpers were unable to be there on Tuesday night as it was the last training session before the semi-finals for the A Reserves.
“I had an apology from Emma Burden [coach of the A Reserves] that she’d pinched half my helpers! I told her we’d cope,” Ms Donaldson joked.
“It’s a big thing for them to finish up school and then turn around and help out, especially when they’re playing netball themselves.
Up until this week, a lot of them were training two nights a week themselves.”
According to Ms Donald-son, the younger children prefer being taught by the high school students.
“It’s much more exciting than the adults. Some of the senior girls coach some of the junior sides as well, so it’s good experience for them to do a bit of coaching,” Ms Donaldson said.
“A lot of the girls play in either the Narrandera Rep squad, or the Barellan Rep squad; they’ve got a lot of good coaching behind them as well. There are a lot of good skills to pass on to the little kids.
“It’s only occasionally that they get distracted and swing off the goalposts!”
NetSetGO involves a series of activities to help younger students grasp the basics of netball.
Younger students were playing fun games that involved netball skills like stopping quickly, learning to shoot goals, and tossing bean bags from hand to hand.
“Those girls turn up every week and run the activities. They do a lot of skills. The older group do a lot more netball-type stuff, whereas the younger ones are learning more basic skills – things for hand-eye co-ordination.
“The actual competition, the primary school competition follows on from 5pm to 7pm. A lot of these kids actually stay and then play in the comp,” Ms Donaldson said.