Mearns netballer calls for reform in the sport

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Emily Donald, who plays netball at least three times a week would like to share her passion for netball, by making the sport more accessible to others.

The fifth year pupil studying at Mearns Academy started playing netball aged eight at Laurencekirk Primary School.

She stuck in at the sport, and has continued her netball career throughout her secondary education.

Emily now plays for Rebound Netball club as well as the Aberdeen District Under-17s and the Mearns Academy senior netball team.

The 17 years-old trains on Monday nights with the school team, Thursday nights with Rebound netball club, and training with the district team takes place every other Sunday.

Emily’s training usually consists of fitness, ball skills, strength and conditioning as well as match play.

This training is on top of fixtures, with Aberdeen league matches being played on Wednesday evenings and occasional play days taking place across the country on Saturdays.

Emily told me: “I personally think it’s one of the best sports as it encourages you to not only better yourself but you’re always part of a team.”

Netball is one of the areas that has had a large increase in funding since the success of the 2014 Commonwealth games, with £2 million being invested in the sport by SportScotland.

However, Emily would like to see major changes in the sport.

“I really think netball should be played in the Olympics. That way everyone would be able to see it played at the highest level.”

She continued: “I also think it should be played in more primary schools, for both boys and girls; there is a huge stigma around boys playing when it’s not even a big deal.”

Emily also feels there are misconceptions surrounding netball that need to be addressed; for example she has grown up having to listen to comments like, “it’s not a real sport”.

She told me: “People underestimate the skill and fitness levels needed.”

Despite all this, Emily still has a massive passion for netball and even hopes to complete a course by the end of this year so that she can be a registered umpire, as well as possibly starting to do coaching.