Netball is one of Oakham’s major sports in the Spring Term. We give 300 girls the opportunity to represent the School in inter-school fixtures with a typical week seeing up to 30 fixtures played from U11 through to 1st VII levels against opponents such as Oundle, Repton, Uppingham, Rugby and Bromsgrove.
Our experienced team of 12 coaches, which includes current Superleague players and former internationals, works hard to develop and nurture the girls. There are many opportunities for girls to compete in national age group competitions at U19, U16 and U14 levels. Oakham have attended the National Schools finals for six consecutive years, highlighting the Netball talent and sheer commitment in pupils and coaches alike. In 2019 our U15 team attended the inaugural World School Games where they played schools from different countries at the highest level, and won the plate. Many girls go on to play netball at varying levels outside School, including Loughborough Lightning and Wasps Academies and local clubs, with a strong cohort every year representing university teams across the country.
Oakham netballers enjoy excellent facilities with nine courts used for training and matches. Preparation for the national competitions begins out of season in the Winter Term with senior players attending strength and conditioning and skills sessions. These skills sessions have now also opened up to U16 and U14 age groups, to develop and bond as a team ahead of the Netball term. Pre-season training for all age groups begins in January before the start of the Spring Term. Many of our junior players have had a taste of Oakham netball either through our Prep Schools Tournament, or through the Friday afternoon netball activity option in the Winter Term.
Our team of coaches use a wide array of coaching techniques, developing all players through enjoyable and stimulating drills and dynamic game-related practices. Senior players are challenged by demanding and exciting styles of play and gain much from their interaction with current Super League players. Alongside our team of fantastic coaches, the students have the opportunity to learn from the best players and coaches in the country during our guest-coaching week. Last year we welcomed Commonwealth Gold Winner; Jodie Gibson, who coached the students and hosted a truly inspiring question and answer for our Lower School netballers. 1st VII also get the experience and exposure of playing against top university teams in the country including; Loughborough University, Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham. For our pupils on performance pathways, we assist them in completing their individual programmes on court and in the gym, this way we can help to manage their time and work load.
The pinnacle for many of our netballers is the opportunity to tour overseas in the major sports tour Oakham runs every three years, and pit their skills against some of the best netball playing schools in the world. In recent years, the girls have travelled to South Africa.
I joined Oakham in September 2017 as Director of Netball. I teach BTEC Sport and Exercise Science and tutor in Stevens House. Prior to this role, I completed my PGCE at Loughborough University and taught PE at Trent College. As a player, I have represented Loughborough Lightning in the Netball Superleague for 9 years, reaching the Grand Final in 2017 and 2018. The pinnacle of my career thus far was winning Gold for Great Britain at the World Universities Netball Championships. I have coached players along the England Netball pathway, passing on my experience of balancing the busy life of a student-athlete.