AFTER joining netball with a friend in high school, India Nellist went on to found her own club where she coaches and is now helping England Netball to launch their new ’10-year Adventure Strategy’ for the game.
Nellist, from Chester, was front and centre of the watershed launch and took part in an exciting photoshoot with other members of the netball family community.
The 18-year-old student joined forces with her friends and their mums to found North West Panthers – and Nellist has held almost every role she can at the club: coaching, umpiring, volunteering and playing.
Now studying maths and sport science at Loughborough University, it is the friends she has made through netball that have kept her coming back.
Nellist said: “I started in high school, my friend joined our local Chester netball team and then we had a massive friendship group at netball so we created our own netball team North West Panthers.
“All of our mums and a few coaches we just started our own team and I’ve been there for five years now.
“It was very difficult – you had to create a brand and a new name and we got to design all of our dresses. That was the fun bit, designing the kit, but then obviously I knew it was very stressful behind the scenes.
“We train once a week and then play games. You just become so friendly, it’s more enjoyable and it keeps you active.
“I used to do loads of the sports when I was younger, like swimming, but swimming was a lot harder to keep up with training six times a week, so that’s why stuck with netball.
“It could be really competitive, but sometimes, it’s just nice to have fun with it, and it doesn’t have it be that competitive.
“I enjoy more of the social side, being with your friends and meeting new people.”
Netball hasn’t just provided Nellist with friends, she has also learnt lots of important skills that she is applying away from the court.
Her work in netball as a volunteer and coach has also seen her selected as one of the new faces of England Netball as they launch their new ’10-year Adventure Strategy’, recognising the diversity within the sport from England Vitality Roses captain Serena Guthrie to para-netballer Liv Harding.
And Nellist added: “We started with seven girls in our team and now we have got over 70 in our club.
“The reason I’m involved in this today is because my friend and I volunteer, we coach the Under-13s in our club.
“And it’s just really grown and we’ve gotten more and more age groups because it just used to be one age group and now we’ve got four and possibly five now.
“I’ve done my level two coaching course now and it just means that I can teach younger teams and get involved with so many opportunities.
“You just get more open and friendly because you’re meeting new people all the time, and then like you, getting along with people and then how you learn new coaching skills and how they interact with people.”
The centre and wing attack is clear on where she sees netball going in the future, adding: “For it to just carry on growing in England and in other countries across the world, and hopefully to make it an Olympic sport one day.
“I’ve been involved with so many different things and netball has given me so many opportunities. To meet elite players in other sports, you might not even have that opportunity but in netball, there are so many different things you can get involved with.
“I want people to know that anyone can play netball, how diverse it can be, there are so many different teams there is walking netball and back to netball, para-netball, I just think it’s got a really wide range of people that can play.”
- For more information on England Netball’s new ‘Adventure Strategy’, or to find out how to get involved in netball in your area, visit www.EnglandNetball.co.uk