COVID times have been immensely tough on a number of organisations.
But for Netball Victoria, the previous 12 months has provided a great opportunity for the organisation to connect with the crucial people at the grassroots level who play major roles in the sport.
In a season with multiple disruptions, there were still over 100,000 Netball Victoria members, indicating the passion for the sport was never lost.
“The highlight for me has been the building of the connection between Netball Victoria and our associations,” Netball Victoria General Manager – Netball Participation Mel Taylor said.
“The people on the ground delivering netball have a stronger presence within Netball Victoria - they guide and they’re really why we exist… the response from our associations over the past 18 months has been phenomenal. Their determination and their capacity to keep bouncing back gives us motivation and energy to keep going as well.
“What they’re able to put out on court has been nothing short of amazing. So definitely an appreciation for our associations, our clubs and our leagues and the role that they play – and then the role that we can play to support them to do their best.”
The connections built from this move has helped collaboration between associations on a number of topics such as male participation, boys netball progress activities and Indigenous pathways.
Netball Victoria expect playing numbers to again grow across the next 12 months as players reconnect with friends and family on the court, as sport resumes after strong vaccination rates across the country.
Their goal for the year ahead is to again help associations and clubs been equipped for a safe return for netball in the COVID world.
“We want to build the confidence around the netball community as well, to show our members that they are in a safe environment, that they are catered for and there is a fall-back position where there is uncertainty,” Taylor said.
“Also the launch of Netball Connect – we want to make sure that our associations are well informed about that. It’s a new technology piece that really creates efficiency for our competition managers. Volunteers are another huge piece. We have seen a great return for our participants, coach, and umpires but we are seeing a little bit of uncertainty around volunteers.
“So we want to make sure we are offering opportunities for that governance side or that hands on side to help and support an association to run – we want to provide the opportunity to do so. We’ve learnt a lot over the past 18-20 months, so we want to make sure we’re putting into those learnings into play.”
Gilbert’s relationship with Netball Victoria has continued to go from strength-to-strength with players right across the state using the trusty equipment and balls.
“There’s an absolute appreciation for the Gilbert name and an understanding of what you get when you purchase a Gilbert product. It is the go to product, especially for netballs across the state,” Taylor added.
“(They are) a valued partner and someone we would continue to work with and see this partnership to grow. We want to make sure we can equip our netball community, and make sure the things that don’t need to be hard, are not hard. And that’s the ability to access viable, strong and robust equipment.
“It’s also important to know that Gilbert can provide a product to go down a model if money is tight for an association and that is a huge string to Gilbert’s bow.”