A casual netball program is tapping into a group of people wanting to stay active but unable to guarantee a regular commitment.
YMCA Ballarat is holding weekly Rock Up Netball sessions, which run during the school term, where participants can attend as little or as often as they would like.
The back-to-basics program is based around skills and drills rather than a formal competition, but YMCA Ballarat health promotions officer Georgia Savage said there was always room for a competitive spirit.
The sessions are particularly attractive to shift workers or parents who may otherwise miss out due to constantly changing availability or those wanting to improve their skills before joining a local club to play competitively.
“Feedback from some of the participants is we all lead such busy lives, so not having to commit and prepay is really helpful, it takes away a lot of the stress,” Savage said.
“I think it complements a lot of the other activities that are happening around netball because it provides another entry point for people, who might not want to approach a club.”
The sessions were first trialled during Active April in partnership with Netball Victoria. While YMCA Ballarat trialled a range of different activities during the campaign, Rock Up Netball received such a strong response from the community the organisation decided to pursue the program further.
Netball Victoria, which is behind the program along with VicHealth, provided YMCA Ballarat with a licence along with a coach to help get the program started. Two local coaches are currently being trained to take over.
While Ballarat Netball Association runs casual sessions to help make netball more accessible, there were not many other options in Ballarat, Savage said.
“YMCA Ballarat wanted to provide more opportunities for people to be active, we really wanted to be driven by what the community wanted… we’ve got lots of different people coming through the door,” she said.
“Even though we’ve adopted this rock up format we haven’t had a week where we’ve had not enough numbers. We’ve got a really good pull of people who are keen to come semi-regularly and that seems to work.”
Savage said there was a broad range of skill levels, including beginners and those who had played netball competitively as children.
Participant Sharon Dundas, who wants to be active, said the flexibility appealed to her as a mother with a young daughter and a husband who is a shift worker.
“It fits in with my life perfectly, because there is absolutely no pressure,” she said.
The sessions run at Doug Dean Stadium in Delacombe on Thursdays, 5.30-6.30pm.