The relentless march of time is a cruel fact of life, and sport. Sportsmen and women over 30 are usually described as ‘veterans’, and as our 30s wear on any sporting activity begins to take its toll in ways previously unimaginable. But we are not to be deterred, and while our physical prowess may diminish as we age, our appetite for playing sport certainly does not. Like other walking sports, Walking Netball caters for those who may have dropped out of the sport either due to injury or that inescapable and nagging sense that you are ‘past it’.
Inclusive and sociable, walking netball’s popularity is booming
Demand for walking sports – including walking football and basketball – is growing, as an ageing population refuses to be cowed by the passage of time. We can still play sport, and we will still play sport.
Walking Netball is, naturally, a slower version of the game. Anyone can play it, regardless of fitness levels or age, and women all across the country are taking up Walking Netball after England Netball rolled out sessions nationwide. Women in their 60s or 70s can compete on an equal footing with much younger women, and the camaraderie this elicits is unique.
Its benefits are manifest – regular physical activity and social interaction helps maintain strength, flexibility, energy levels and mental well-being. General good health and well-being makes a genuine difference to someone’s quality of life, whatever their age.
Older people taking part in Walking Netball will see the benefits piling up – lower blood pressure and heart rate, less fat, more muscle, and increased mobility.
So if you love netball, and had stopped due to age and / or injury, there really is no good reason to not give Walking Netball a try. Indeed, if you’ve never played netball at all it is a tremendous introduction to sociable sport.
Rules have been adapted
So how does it work? How different is it to standard netball?
England Netball has recommended a number of adaptations to the rules for competitive play. If you’re not playing a competitive game the most important thing is to deliver fun and flexible sessions. As such, how closely you adhere to the rule adaptations is up to you, and dependent on your group.
A player must have at least part of one foot in contact with the court at all times.
One rule, which must be enforced in all Walking Netball sessions is the above, to ensure that everyone is WALKING.
A player may receive the ball with one foot grounded and then take two steps while in possession of the ball before it must be thrown or shoot.
During the game, an extra step may be taken once a player has received the ball, which reduces the impact on landing and improves the momentum of the game.
A player may throw the ball within four seconds of receiving the ball.
An extra second has been allowed to increase the decision making time whilst in possession of the ball, which should encourage improved ball placement.
England Netball are rolling out a number of Walking Netball sessions across the country. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities, or head to your region’s website to see how you can get involved.
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