My first experience of Netball at Disney as part of the Sport Experiences team got off to a bumpy start, literally – on the ferry – thanks Storm Brian! But we survived and thank goodness as we had lots of setting up to do.
150 netball balls pumped, 4 tennis courts changed into netball courts, and lots of cabins at Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch thoroughly checked, we were ready for our arrivals. And they were ready for us too – full to bursting with energy and enthusiasm – despite the stormy seas.
The next morning we were all set to get the games underway. Our wonderful partners at England Netball were on umpiring duty (who better), co-ordinator Adam was in-charge of timings and scores, and anyone who could get their hands on it was hooting the hooter to signify the end of each match – the festival had begun.
I was attending to cover the event on Twitter and be an extra pair of hands but I really got into the matches – I could not believe the talent on show. If you’re reading this as a coach who brought a group along you should be (and no doubt are) super-proud of your girls. Whatever ability, position, school team or club the girls were the perfect mix of competitive, respectful and supportive.
Special mentions to the Glenwood netball team who made the longest journey coming all the way from South Africa and seemed to be cheered on and befriended by everyone. Also, the Cottingham Jaguars who always had the hunger to win (and did eventually win the under 16s plate). The semi-final between those teams on finals day kept me more enthralled than any of the last few International Football tournaments that’s for sure!
The great thing about this festival is it’s not completely about the tournaments: and every team at the awards ceremony (included in the package) goes home with a trophy. It’s about taking part, improving skills and team playing. Also, there is a coaching day included, this is made up of various training sessions for all key parts of the game- shooting, passing, defense etc. And the groups are coached by amazing mentors like Tallisa Haynes from the Surrey Storms (pictured above).There were also fun challenges set by the coaches, who can plank the longest, who can shoot the most goals in 1 minute etc. Plus coaches/teachers each took home a training guide to continue using England netball tried and tested exercises and sessions back at school.
What surprised me most was after playing their matches or training hard the groups still had the energy to go and make the most of their time at Disney. The magic of Disney is clearly invigorating! Players I spoke to explained that the experiences they shared, from rides and meeting characters, to bunking up in the cabins at Davy Crockett and even the bumpy ferry trip, really made them come together as a team. It really was an amazing experience and one that I honestly think any group of netballers would love to be a part of.
Our next Disney Netball Festival takes place at Easter 2018, but there’s also October 18 and Easter 19 dates and prices on our website:
Call our Sport Experiences Expert, Henry on 02083354949 today to register your interest.
Jo Turner: Tour Specialist and new Netball fan!