New South Wales netballers enjoy flexible uniform options as the sport moves away from traditional attire

Traditional netball dresses may soon become a relic of the past, as Netball NSW launches a new line of player uniforms that will be more inclusive and comfortable for people of all ages, gender identities and cultural backgrounds.

The new clothing line includes different options for NSW amateur players, including jerseys, t-shirts, long-sleeved tops, shorts and compression garments. The traditional netball dress will also remain in the mix for players, should they wish to wear it.

The uniform options were designed to give players choice and more flexibility as netball seeks to broaden its appeal to a wider range of players. This comes after last year’s State of Play Review, which was chaired by Liz Ellis and found that a lack of flexibility when it comes to the netball uniform was a major downside to participation. , and even led some players to quit the sport for good. .

Tain Drinkwater, CEO of Netball NSW, said the new approach to uniforms, offering more flexibility and inclusiveness, was vital for the continued growth of the game. She said it was a “watershed moment” for netball , a sport that has always been very traditional.

“Netball NSW believes that all participants should, where possible, be encouraged to wear a uniform that allows them to participate in netball in the way that is most convenient for them,” said Drinkwater.

Drinkwater explained that contrary to popular belief, the rules of netball do not state that a registered playing uniform must be a dress.

“The rules say it has to be the registered game uniform. This uniform is defined by the Clubs and approved by the Associations. This means that our grassroots community has the opportunity to make sure the uniforms are inclusive for everyone, ”she said.

“The main goal is to make sure that we advance our position as a sport for people not only of all cultural backgrounds and gender identities, but also of all shapes and sizes. It is clear that the rigidity in what concerns clubs that only allow dresses slows down our participation figures. “

Netball NSW encourages clubs and associations to embrace the new flexibility around uniforms to encourage continued and wider participation in netball.

“As of today, they have the tools to do just that, backed by the new inclusive uniform guidelines prepared by Netball NSW,” Drinkwater said. “In many ways, this is a watershed moment. Netball has been the leader in many areas, but not when it comes to expanding its appeal beyond the traditional basics. It is time to change that.

The decision to expand the line of uniforms for players was informed by research which indicated that traditional netball attire was a barrier to participation in netball for many.

According to a study by Victoria University, 58 percent of girls said they didn’t want to wear skirts during sports outside of school. 85 percent of the girls surveyed said they preferred to wear shorts during sports outside of school.

Meanwhile, according to a study per the University of Sydney, only 8 percent of Netball NSW members speak a language other than English and only 6 percent are foreign-born. Players from diverse cultural backgrounds were 32 percent more likely to quit after just one year of playing netball.

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