So Long, Farewell…

What an exciting season it has been for Coaching. Hopefully you have noticed that we have ramped up the support, and for the 16-17 season we have set our sights even higher!

Whilst Team Coaching are busy preparing all the exciting things that we have planned for the 16-17 season the blog is going on it’s Jolly Holidays…but before it does we are super excited to share with you England Netball Coaches Club.


(Click on the logo to go straight to the videos)

We are determined to make your development as a coach fit more easily into your lifestyle. So at the beginning of this year we brought key messages from Make the Game Live, our annual national coaching conference, on the road. We also brought along a film crew to capture these messages and we are now so pleased to make them available for you to watch, in the comfort of your own home/office/on the bus. All you need is a screen and an internet connection.

Before we pack up the blogs suitcase and it goes on it’s merry way…we wanted to take a moment to look back on the past season. Since the launch on fireworks day, November 5th 2015 we have spoken to 70 Coaches for their top tips, and posted 25 Fresh Ideas, from warm ups that the national squad do, to Children’s Coach favourites, we’ve even seen a few guest Coaches from other sports. We want to say a BIG thank you if you are one of the Coaches that has contributed to these posts.


We want to continue to share tried and tested advice from coaches out there on the ground, if you would like to be involved in the 16/17 season – if you have a fantastic practice to share, or would like to share your knowledge on a particular topic for coach development drop us an email –

Don’t forget! You can also stay up to date with all things Coaching over on Twitter and Facebook over Summer, (not forgetting to check out the fantastic Podcasts if you’ve not already done so!)

,Click for Facebook hClick for Podcasts o Click for Twitter

This blog is for you, we will strive to provide content that will support you in your development as a coach, so do let us know what you would like to see next season.


Have a fantastic Summer and we will be back posting in August!

Team Coaching


Dribble Tag Battle

Happy #FIF time Coaches! Our fourth and final week of cross-sport coaching is here and this week we look to basketball. We have spoken to coach Bob Martin, Bob is a former professional player. He has a vast coaching experience; coaching 8 years at Defiance College, Ohio, 2 Years East Durham Academy and 17 years as Head Coach at Doncaster Danum Eagles Basketball Club. Bob coaches across the age and ability groups, from Children to Adult Performance.



When asked to share a game or practice with England Netball Coaching for this post I thought about the kids that I coach and what gets them having fun. From experience this is one that the kids really love and get very excited whilst playing. With children’s coaching sessions we want to see smiles on their faces.


  • Split your group in half, half have a ball, half do not
  • Players are allocated a court space in which they must stay
  • They must dribble the ball within this area whilst trying to avoid being tagged by the players without a ball.
  • If they are tagged they give the ball to the tagger and switch roles.

Play this with a time limit and those that have the ball at the end of the time limit are the winners.


  • Restrict space
  • Only can dribble with weaker hand
  • Taggers must get the ball rather than tag the player (I tend to use this version for the slightly older age group)

This practice is very flexible and can be built on and developed to suit whatever the focus your training session may be. You can also progress it to be more of a game, one we call ‘Battle’…



AIM – To get the ball across the court and to be the last player ‘dribbling’.

  • The group is like above, split in half.
  • One group of players has a ball each and start with the ball on the base line.
  • They must dribble the ball across the court without being a) tagged or b) the ball taken from them.
  • Players dribble the ball from one end to the other until all but one player are out.
  • Past the base line is a safe zone
  • When a player is tagged they must stand where they were tagged. This creates obstacles to avoid or use as defensive blocks from the taggers.

You can also add in other safe zones around the court.

We hope that you have enjoyed this different approach to training throughout May – pop a game from a different sport (particularly an invasion game) on your pre-season training plans, or as a warm up game at trials. It can be really interesting to get your players out of their comfort zones and to see what unfolds.

This weekend brings us the very last finals of the season with the National Clubs U14s at Redbridge Sports Centre. A big Good Luck to all 18 coaches that have teams competing!

If you are coaching players with learning disabilities the Marion Smith Tournament in Derby has extended their entry deadline until Wednesday June 1st, head to the website here for more information.

Team Coaching


Premier League for Sport needs Netball Coaches!

Calling all netball and football fans!

Are you interested in partnering with your local football club OR working self-employed for a Premier League football club to deliver netball under your local team’s badge?

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in then get in touch!

The amazing Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) project started back in 2009 and has now helped over 80,000 young people get involved in sport in their local community.

PL4S runs in partnership with Sport England and involves Premier League Clubs delivering satellite netball sessions attached to a local netball club.

The following football clubs are involved with the Premier League 4 Sport programme:

1.       Arsenal FC

2.       Aston Villa FC

3.       Blackburn Rovers FC

4.       Bolton Wanderers FC

5.       Chelsea FC

6.       Crystal Palace

7.       Everton FC

8.       Fulham FC

9.       Hull City FC

10.   Liverpool FC

11.   Leicester City

12.   Manchester City FC

13.   Manchester United FC

14.   Middlesbrough FC

15.   Newcastle United FC

16.   Portsmouth FC

17.   Stoke City FC

18.   Sunderland FC

19.   Tottenham Hotspur FC

20.   West Bromwich Albion FC

21.   West Ham United FC

22.   Wigan Athletic FC

23.   Derby County FC

24.   Norwich City FC

25.   Queens Park Rangers FC

26.   Southampton FC

27.   Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

28.   Bristol City FC

29.   Bristol Rovers FC

30.   Leeds United FC

31.   Nottingham County FC

32.   Nottingham Forest FC

33.   Plymouth Argyle FC

34.   Sheffield United FC

35.   Sheffield Wednesday FC

36.   Swansea City FC

37.   Watford

38.   Bournemouth

Are any of these clubs close to you? If so, and this opportunity sounds like it’s perfect for you, get involved and register your interest before Friday 3rd June here.


Good Luck

Team Coaching


Behind Enemy Lines

Yipeee, Friday is here! For those of you that didn’t manage to catch Netball Europe last weekend, we saw the Roses take the Netball Europe title! “Fabulously dynamic netball throughout the court saw the Roses take an emphatic 83-32 win and start the competition with a bang.” Read more about the event and see results table here.

May is our cross-sport coaching month.  It has been so interesting talking to coaches from other sports, particularly other invasion games where there is so much cross-over.  It’s really interesting to learn about their coaching philosophies, how they are trying to develop great decision makers and their approach to working with their group of players.

This week we look to another invasion game, Rugby. We have spoken to a number of netball coaches that like to insert some of the rugby rules into regular netball practices, such as running with the ball and aiming to receive the ball over the end line (See previous posts; AvD: Time Limit and N-S-E-W). The next session you’re feeling a little creative (and prepared for chaos), why not take it one step further with a game of touch rugby…with a difference. This week we spoke to Rugby Coach Giles Heagerty…

Giles is a level 4 qualified coach working as a PE teacher at Manchester Grammar School, Director of Rugby at Macclesfield RUFC, Head Coach of England Counties Under-18s and an England Rugby Coach Educator.  A very busy man!  Giles started coaching whilst at university and following a career-ending back injury, got more involved in coaching.  This saw him leave a career in recruitment to ultimately become a teacher.

Behind Enemy Lines

(And by enemy we mean friendly opposition 🙂 )

To win the game, players must score the most points by scoring tries within a time frame.

  • Players can run with the ball.
  • Players must pass the ball backwards when throwing.
  • Players can kick the ball forwards.

For all Touch Rugby Rules click here.image2

  • 2 teams of 7.
  • 2 attackers behind the defensive line of players (could be 1 if numbers are low).
  • Defence can choose whether to mark the attacking players or not.
  • The two attackers can roam wherever they like behind line.
  • At any point, the attacking team can kick pass forward to the attacking players behind the line.
  • If the attack receive the kick pass on the full, they can take 5 steps toward the try line. If they catch on the bounce, they stay where they are. Kicking encourages people to look for space behind the line, as well as support play for those who the ball is kicked to.
  • If the ball is tuned over then the attackers become defenders, and vice versa. This means two players from the now attacking team must work to get forward and the two now defending must work to get into the defensive line.


  • Increase/ decrease the defenders restrictions,
  • Increase/ decrease the area playing in, or certain players are allowed in.
  • Apply rules to include skill development e.g. the attackers behind the defensive line can only go on the wing; this will focus accuracy of kick pass to players in a smaller area on the pitch.
  • Add time restrictions that encourage release of ball.


This practice allows lots of decision making. It encourages support play and for players to look up to appreciate where the space is. It also encourages a good degree of depth to see more of the pitch…as well as supporting the development of communication.

Thank you to Giles for sharing this game!

You could also do this on a netball court, with a netball…why not add netball rules into this game to create a hybrid?  Challenge your players to identify the skills that they are developing and seek their input for adaptations.

And so we say ‘ta ra’ to another week.  If you’re at a loose end over the weekend and fancy a bit of reading, Sport England have announced their new strategy this week.  Volunteering and coaching is alluded to a lot, in case you’re interested, here are the headlines;

  • Funding to get children and young people active from the age of five.
  • Working with the sport sector to put customers at the heart of everything they do, and using the principles of behaviour change to inform their work
  • Piloting new ways of working locally by investing in up to 10 places in England – a mix of urban and rural areas
  • Investing up to £30m in a new volunteering strategy, enabling more people to get the benefits of volunteering and attracting a new, more diverse range of volunteers
  • Helping sport keep pace with the digital expectations of customers.
  • Working closely with governing bodies of sport and others who support people who already play regularly, to help them become more efficient, sustainable and diversify their sources of funding.

Find the full report,  here.

Thanks for reading coaches, we hope you enjoy trying ‘Behind Enemy Lines with your players.’ Make sure to let us know how it goes @ENCoaching_ !  Happy Weekend!


Team Coaching


Cricket – Rounders

Our favourite time of the week is here once more. It’s Friday afternoon and after last week’s football focus, this week we will look to another sport. It was great to see the interest from the #FIF we shared last Friday and we 100% agree with @Bodmin_Netball.

All of our May practices can be used as fun team building activities that allow your players to interact and get comfortable with one another without being conscious about their performance as a Netballer. Nerves tend to be running a little high at the start of the season as squads may be being finalised so it’s important that you plan activities that encourage interaction and develop communication between playes.

England Cricket Board Coach Development Manager Martyn Kiel is sharing one of his coaching practices today. Martyn designs and develops courses, workshops and resources for coaches supporting and inspiring players in recreational cricket.  As a coach, Martyn has worked in a variety of environments as well as several different countries including South Africa, Kenya and the United States.  He is currently the Head Coach of Nottinghamshire Women.

Cricket Rounders


  • Players: 14
  • Tennis balls: 1
  • Bats: 1
  • Cones: 2
  • Stumps: 4 sets

Time: 20-30 mins


  • To acquire and develop batting, fielding and communicating skills
  • To select and apply skills and tactics to score more runs when batting by hitting the ball into gaps and running to appropriate bases. To reduce the amount of runs scored when fielding by returning the ball to the bowler quickly (to attempt to aim for stumps vacant)
  • To evaluate and improve performance by observing team members and the opposition when performing in a game situation, also by listening to and following instructions



  • Group are organised as illustrated
  • The coach or teacher acts as the server initially and serves the ball under-arm to player 1 of the batting team who is standing at the crease
  • Player 1 hits the ball and runs to first base or more depending on where the ball has been hit
  • To complete a run a batter has to successfully reach fourth base
  • They the join the back of the line if successful; Batters can be caught out, bowled or run out
  • Once out they must join the back or the line
  • Fielders must attempt to retrieve the ball and throw it to the nearest base fielder where there is a chance of a run out
  • An innings can be a timed innings or until all are out
  • The team with the most runs are deemed winners



  • Increase/decrease the size of the base area
  • Increase/decrease fielders
  • Add another base
  • Use weak hand when fielding
  • Hit off a tee
  • Fielders decide where to field
  • Players to act as servers

Looks like a fun one and easily adapted to netball, to the park we go! Thank you to Martyn for sharing.

Yesterday we saw the start of Netball Europe which is being hosted in Newcastle. England’s first game was today at 1pm against Northern Ireland and we saw the Roses come away with an incredible score line of 83 – 32. To keep up with the action this weekend you can stream the matches live (click here) or, if you want to see them in action and soak up the atmosphere, click here for tickets.

This weekend, we will also see teams from across the country head to Sheffield for Prem play-offs. In case you haven’t already seen March’s Top 10 Tips, the focus is Match Day. Click here for a quick read. We particularly like Victoria Burgess’ tip for finals day;



Good Luck to all Coaches that have teams competing. Make sure to make the most of the event as a learning experience, following the event reflect on your experience as a coach, what went well, what went better, what would you do differently next time? It is a great opportunity for your development…and don’t forget to have fun!!

We hope the sun is shining wherever you are this weekend, have a good one Netball Coaching Family.

Team Coaching


Top 10 on the 10th – Trials

Happy Tuesday Coaches!  We hope that those of you who attended the VNSL this weekend had a fab time and hopefully you all got to enjoy some sunshine. This is our last Top 10 for the season (sob) as we are heading off during June and July to get everything ready for next year.  But never fear, before the Coaching blog goes on its summer holiday, we bring you May’s Top 10 on a very important topic we didn’t want to miss.

This month we spoke to some of the National Academy Pathway Selectors, along with a range of  coaches to find out what their advice is when it comes to trials. We know many of you have already got underway with organising trials for the 16/17 season and we hope these tips will help you make them the best ever!


  1. Debbie Skene – Youth Coach, Performance Development Coach

I’m a bit of a computer geek and I love spreadsheets which allow me to plan matches and ensure that every player plays in all 3 chosen positions. I can then track which round they are playing in and which chosen position they are in. This makes it fair for all. It also means if a player is missing, I can quickly replace them each match with another player.

Spend some time on excel or ask around fellow coaches that might have a mega spreadsheet already organised.

I always plan for something to go wrong but I have back up bibs, umpires, selectors, balls, paperwork etc all at the ready. My last tip is to get older players to help you. This weekend I used the U16 girls to help register players on arrival, organise bibs and balls on each court and help support the athletes. I asked them to wear their county kit so they were a role model and something the U14’s would aspire too.

  1. Hayley Mackellar

Be prepared, all you need is your coaching team, selectors and umpires. When the players arrive be clear about the format of the trials, have your order of play ready and make timings clear to players. Hand over the responsibility to the players…letting your players warm up together and lead themselves allows them to feel more comfortable about the trials and to get involved with others. When players use their voice, they lose their nerves.

Create a relaxed environment by keeping it simple, smile and enjoy. Be organised from the start. Have selectors confirmed with all the information they need. Organise Umpires with the local league and ask mentors to maybe get umpires wishing to be assessed or mentored to come and umpire games. Have your order of play completed and clear to all. Any change needed to be made will be small and adjustable on the day. Allow the players to take lead.

Paperwork involved doesn’t have to be complex…keep it simple, clear and allow for extra. Give your umpires and selectors clear instructions and the necessary paper work and it will run like a dream.

  1. Philippa Hicks – Children’s Coach / Performance Development Coach

I believe there is a lot of value involved in bringing in independent selectors. For you as a coach to have a second opinion, someone who does not have any preconceived bias can help you to see players from a different perspective.

For players it is also good to bring in external selectors, players may feel that the selection is fair. Having a balance of both those that have seen them play throughout the season in case they don’t perform their best during trails, and an independent selector that it fixed on where players have played previously.

  1. Jane Lomax – Performance Development Coach

If there is a player you do not see much of in a trial game, before writing them off take another look: they may be marking their player so well they never get the ball. It is not always the ‘flashy’ players who naturally draw your attention that will necessarily make the best team players. ‘Grafters’ can often be better long term prospects as they quietly impact on the game and set up those intercepts and turnover opportunities for others who then get noticed. So take a look for who created those opportunities!

  1. Amanda Newton – England Netball National Academy Pathway Selector

Make sure you look at their basic abilities – can they land &turn with the ball?

Be open as the person might not have the trained skills as a netballer but still be talented.

And look out for players that are versatile – can play various positions. Not necessarily all over the court but versatile within their unit / position. For example a Centre that plays very defensively, but is also an effective attacker.

  1. Anna Carter – England Netball National Academy Pathway Selector

My top tip is to challenge current thinking of what players are doing now and look for players that are non-conventional who can shape the future of the game. Sounds difficult and it is, these players come along rarely but when they do they change peoples perceptions of what a current player is capable of and pushes the boundaries of the game.

  1. Sam Bird – England Netball National Academy Pathway Selector

A top tip from me would be to create an environment and encourage players to express themselves as much as possible. It would be good for you as coach to give players a steer, get them to set themselves a target for the game and try to achieve it – eg a WA to try to be free on first phase for Centre pass ; or a defender to try and intercept/ tip the ball 3 times in the game. Trials are hard because they will be playing with players they are not familiar with, so more individual focus whilst trying to get the team you are on to perform well.  Most of all enjoy the experience and learn from it!

  1. Dannii Titmuss – England Netball National Academy Pathway Selector & Performance Development Coach

My top tip would be to encourage the players to be FEARLESS!

No matter what position, are they the athlete who’s able to take the risk and go for the interception, have the confidence to take the shot, be able to take on defence to get free? Fearlessness could also be being brave to communicate with your unit (players you might not know) to implement team tactics. Encourage players to take the opportunity whilst on court, give it everything they have – don’t hold back!

  1. Fran Connolly – Adult Participation / Performance Development Coach

Try something new! Take your players out of their comfort zone. If you do the same warm ups, games and match play that you usually do, you will see what you already know about your players. Include decision making practices and create a bit of chaos so see who the games players are.

Before going into trials you also need to know what your expectations are, do you want the best players right here right now, or future champions that you can invest some time in to develop. Have a coach meeting and ensure you are on the same page about what you are looking for.

  1. Katy Ritchie – Youth Coach

Trials are an opportunity for you to sell your club to new members.  As the coach, you won’t be able to do everything on the day so delegate where possible.  When we reviewed trials a few years ago, we discussed how intimidating it can me for new players and wanted to do something about that.  We asked our friendliest, most bubbly club member to be the official point of welcome on trials days.  She is tasked with seeking out newbies, saying hi, telling them about the club, our ethos and introducing them to other newbies and friendlier club members.  It is definitely a more positive experience now and we have a high retention rate of talented new players to the club.

For some further support with decision based games have a look at the England Netball Scouting Resource.

Trained Identifiers: Identifying players using a game-centred approach. A free online video resource to help club coaches and teachers identify the range of attributes and characteristics we are looking for in the England Performance Pathway, when nominating players to attend Satellite or County Academy screening events. For more information and to watch the video, please visit:

If you have any top tips that you would like to share with the Netball Coaching Family please do tweet us @ENCoaching_ or post on the Facebook page. Good Luck with your trials.

And that is ‘Top 10’ over and out!

Team Coaching


Move to Receive

Thinking outside the Rectangle: Learning from another Sport.

The Vitality Superleague Grand Final is less than a day away and the end of the Netball season is beginning to merge into summer. For the month of May we are taking a different approach for Fresh Idea Friday. As we know for athlete development we should encourage players to play multi-sports (particularly invasion games) so each FIF in May we will share a game from a coach in another sport. This may be a challenge to some of your players but hopefully they will have some fun and learn something new.

With a story that has dominated the Sports news for the past few months and finishing off with Leicester City FC securing the title as Champions last weekend, football has definitely been in the limelight. So this week we have spoken to a Phil, a football coach who has shared a fun practice to try with your netballers.


Phil Hicks is Bristol Rovers Under 15s Coach, Phil is a UEFA B Licence coach who is currently working towards the FA Youth Award Module 3. As well as previously coaching on the Bristol Rovers Advanced Development Centre programme; Phil has coached a number of County representative squads in the South Wales area. Phil possesses a BSc (Hons) in Sport & Exercise Science and currently works as the Sports Development Officer for the University of the West of England, delivering coach education programmes to its students.

You can purely play this as football for a bit of fun, or start as football, then challenge your players to identify the skills they are using in this game and how they can transfer this to Netball. You could then ask them to adapt the game to Netball themselves.

Adapt size of area and conditions to meet the needs of your players. (As a Netball court is approx. 30x15m you may have to adapt the number of players and square sizes to your facilities.)

Organisation & Setup

  • 45x30m grid with five 5×5 squares set up as shown (use spot mats to define areas).
  • 9v9 possession game
  • One ball per team initially
  • Objective of practice is for a receiving player to receive in a square to score a point. Players can only remain in a square for a max of 3 seconds (they must then empty out space for others).

Progressions & Adaptations

  • Introduce competition between teams, both teams have 60 seconds to score as many points as possible (when reviewing do not compare scores, simply ask players what went well, what can they do better and repeat. Is there improvement?).
  • Remove one ball, the practice now becomes an opposed possession practice (9v9 game)

Reduce the challenge

  • Add two neutral players who can play for both teams, creating an overload for team in possession

Increase the challenge

  • Decrease size of squares/remove squares
  • Teams can only receive in certain squares


Coaching Factors & Outcomes

 Technical/Tactical :

  • Timing of runs
  • Decision making – when/where to pass
  • Weight/direction of pass
  • Supporting positions in possession
  • Receiving skills
  • Increase tempo/speed when required

Physical : High work-rate and effort

Psychological : Competitive mind-set

Social :

  • Communication
  • Reflect and feedback as an individual and as part of a group
  • Give players ownership by giving them the option to change the size of the squares


Thank you Phil! Coaches, we hope that you enjoy trying something different with your players. And as with the players trying different sports, for your coaching development why not get in touch with someone who coaches another sport, pop along to observe their session and see what you take away.


Who will take home the title this season? Don’t miss out on what is sure to be a stunning match on Sky Sports tomorrow.

Happy Friday!

Team Coaching