Hucclecote Netball Club

The Power of Sports: How They Benefit Children’s Mental Health

Netball can play a vital role in the physical development of children, but its impact goes beyond the body. Netball also significantly benefits mental health. From building resilience to fostering social connections, engaging in sports can positively influence a child’s emotional well-being.

With sport comes many highs and lows. Whilst the highs are moments we all like to celebrate and focus on, it is the setbacks that can help children navigate challenges and promote mental health.

One of the most valuable lessons netball can teach children is resilience. Challenges such as injury, failure, not getting selected for the team or making the starting 7 are inevitable. But what can these setbacks teach us? That can depend on how we deal with each setback. Could we guide young players to see setbacks as opportunities? By facing the challenges head on and learning to cope with disappointment or adversity we are building mental resilience. Overcoming challenges in sport fosters a sense of accomplishment, self-confidence and self-esteem. All behaviours which boost mental health. This paired with the social benefits of being part of a team can only aid the development of these up and coming athletes.

So, when things don’t go to plan, let's help these youngsters process setbacks not as a negative thing but as an opportunity to develop the mindset needed to thrive in sports. Let’s support them and encourage them to brush themselves down, bounce back and have another go.

We turned the focus onto some of Hucclecote’s National Premier League squad who shared some of their experiences…

Sam Wisbey (Nee Cook) Hucclecote National Premier Squad, Team Bath Superleague, Severn Stars Superleague and England Defender.

I’ve had 4 major knee operations, 3 being ACL reconstructions with each one taking me out of netball for whole seasons. 2 months before the U21 Netball World Youth Cup I ruptured my ACL whilst playing in a test series in Jamaica. The injury was devastating at the time as I knew it meant I wouldn’t play in the World Youth Cup. However, due to a great support network and knowing there was still more to come from me I embarked on my rehab journey. Having players around me who had also sustained injuries and made it back (Pamela Cookey 2 x ACL and a ruptured Achilles) gave me confidence to work hard to get back on court. 12 months later I was selected into the England Senior Squad and gained my first senior cap the very next year.

Dr Clare Jones. Hucclecote National Premier Squad, Celtic Dragons Superleague, Welsh Feather #203

The main setback that I have experienced was not making the Welsh squad which travelled to the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. I received an email, which I still have, telling me I was the 13th player (they take 12). It felt very bittersweet knowing I came so close but also feeling at the same time I was so far off. It was hard to process I would only get in if a fellow team mate sustained an injury which I didn’t want to happen. It was a painful experience as at the same time I also received a rejection from my PHD course – a double blow to deal with. It took me a while of feeling sad with plenty of tears shed before I was able to feel good enough and gather myself. A new coach came in and helped me rediscover ‘my why’, this really helped me. As I reflected I realised that the 13th person is actually a success and through working with my coach I re-established my love for the game. We forged a plan and set goals. In 2022 I made selection for the CWG in Birmingham. Four years had flown by and I was the fittest, most confident in my ability, and in what I could contribute to the team. The following year I was part of the World Cup Squad travelling to South Africa and a starting 7 player. I look back and feel thankful that the period after my deselection gave me the opportunity to re-asses, re-evaluate and focus on myself.