Mon 12 Sep 2022 12:46

Welcome back to the courts everyone for the 22-23 season!

Our county priority for this year is around umpiring and coaching, and we will be driving forward
with various plans to increase the numbers of all officiating staff in the county. Please do let the
committee know if you are interested in attending any relevant courses and we will help you on that
path, and contribute 50% of the costs of the courses for this season. We are keen for those already
qualified as umpires to look at progressing to the next level and keen to engage more younger
players through the Into qualification. Similarly, we need more coaches (particularly younger
players) who can help with their own clubs and the local Junior clubs; this is a rewarding role and
great fun so please get in touch if interested.

I am also keen to develop our culture with regards to supporting officiating staff and I would like
everyone, on and off the court, to think about the challenging job these people have, and treat them
with the respect they are due. We may not always agree with their calls, but without these key
personnel, we would not even be able to take to the courts. We are all in it together playing the
game we enjoy so let’s remember to support each other, and whilst we encourage competitive
games, please make sure you are on the ‘right’ side of competitive, and endeavour to play clean but
well contested netball. I will be looking for Captains to lead on this and nip any poor conduct in their
teams at the earliest stage please. If we don’t get this right, we will lose players and potential
umpires and coaches so it’s on us all to conduct ourselves appropriately.

We also have lots going on in Somerset for all ages from primary level (Bee netball) through to ladies
in their 70s (Walking netball), and several lively summer leagues too. We should be rightly proud of
this big footprint, which encourages physical activity and social activity in so many ways. Please do
your best as individuals to keep the numbers high and even bring in new players to our fantastic
netball community. Please try to create a sense of belonging in your clubs which offers the
opportunity to play netball but also provides a good support network. Similarly, I would look to you
all to nurture talent and ensure the right opportunities exist for development. If you feel they don’t
then please get in touch with the committee and our England Netball NDO.

We will be doing a review of the winter league in Jan 23 and I look forward to hearing your thoughts
on what is going well and what could be improved or different. We will also have an end of season
event where we come together collectively to celebrate our season. We are also asking questions of
various agencies about the provision of facilities in our county, and looking to develop these in due
course. We are something of a ‘poor cousin’ when compared to other sports and yet our numbers
suggest we are one of the most rapidly growing, so we need to push hard for good courts, and not
accept sub-standard facilities. Again, talk to the committee if you are having issues with this and we
will try to help.

In the meantime, I and my committee look forward to seeing you on the courts from late Sep and
here’s to a great season of winter netball and hopefully not too much rain when we are playing

Regards, Debbie Sims