Seniors rediscover netball at their own pace
IT'S the laughs and camaraderie as much as the exercise which is attracting over-50s netballers to walking netball on the Gold Coast.
There are now about 26 people taking part in the weekly social group which began last month, and according to Southport Carrara Netball Association president Marian Chester, new members inquire every week.
"It's been fantastic," she said. "We're growing all the time."
"I think the social part is really important for most people, but they all come off sweating too."
As the name suggests, walking netball is just a modified version of the faster-paced game, with other rule changes including players never being allowed to have both feet off the ground at once.
They can also take up to two steps with the ball and keep possession for up to four seconds before passing or shooting.
That makes it ideal for older players or those with injury and, in one case, an expectant mum.
"We've got a lot of retired people playing," Marian said.
"It's non-contact, and it means if you have an injury like a bad ankle or bad knee but still want to get out and play something, you can do it without putting strain on your body.
"It's very social, very friendly and a good way to meet new people."
There's a diverse range of experience, including some who played into their 20s or 30s, others who haven't played since school, and still others who have never played at all.
With teams of seven organised each week according to who turns up, and rotated each quarter for up to six quarters, it also means participants get to play in positions they may never have played before.
"Everyone is very generous about giving everyone else a go, and it's got such a lovely feel about it - that's what sport should be all about," Marian said.
Games run from 9am to 11am on Fridays with a coffee shared afterwards.
Sessions will operate until November 30, when they will break until early next year.
Inquiries are still being taken, and Marian said the level of demand will decide if they start using more than one court or increase to two timeslots, but she can't foresee it becoming a competition, because that is simply not what the participants are looking for.
"If you played netball as a child or young adult, the skills still come back - it's like riding a bike," she said.
Cost at Gold Coast Sports and Leisure indoor stadium is $10 per person per game to cover venue and umpires. The venue is at Nerang-Broadbeach Rd, Carrara.
For more information, call the SCNA clubrooms on 5539 5195 or go to http://scna.org.au.