The College has an unrivalled history of supporting the development of young netball players at all levels and is proud to have built a netball community for all, from a foundation of pupils who enjoy participation on the school court to providing pathways to grow the most talented players to represent their country and pursue a professional career. Our recent partnership with Netball Scotland signals the strength of netball at RGC and Nicola Stephen, Teacher in charge of Netball, shares more.
When are pupils initially introduced to netball at RGC?
Netball features predominantly as one of our core sports in both our PE and Sport programme starting from P4, however, we start building the foundation skills from Nursery. During PE lessons we teach pupils hand eye coordination, develop passing, catching and evasive running skills. These foundation skills transfer directly into the game.
There are also formal academic opportunities in Senior School too. Our National 5 PE and Higher PE pupils, male and female, have studied netball this year and have really enjoyed it!
Do opportunities exist outside of the core PE curriculum?
Yes, co-curricular Netball starts at P2 and runs all the way through to S6 which allows us to invite everyone to come and get involved who wishes to. The co-curricular programme is vast and has really helped to strengthen our pupils’ skill, comradery, and enjoyment of the game. With pupils’ enthusiasm and interest soaring, we now offer Netball year round to both Junior and Senior School pupils.
When do pupils get to experience competing against other teams?
Competitive Netball fixtures are available to pupils from Primary 5 regardless of their level, this is something I have strived to build into our programme. Pupils have really enjoyed the experience of playing in friendly fixtures both home and away against other schools regardless of whether they are part of an A, B or C team.
Our more competitive teams will compete in the Scottish Schools Cup Competition and Aberdeen Secondary Schools Netball Association League and Tournaments. We’ve had wonderful success stories this year at both national and local level.
At national level, all S1 - Senior teams progressed well through the Scottish Cup this season with the First VII reaching the last 16 and the S3A the quarter finals. The S1A team have had an outstanding run, where they are due to play in the final of the plate competition next Thursday. We cannot wait to play at such a prestigious event. The Scottish Schools Netball Scotland competition allows our more talented players to challenge themselves against the well established netball schools similar to RGC across the country.
In the Independent Schools A Tournament, the 1st VII defended their Independent title where they put in another strong performance to become runners up this year and the 2nd VII won the B Tournament.
At local level, the 1st VII team finished runners up in the Cup section of the Aberdeen Secondary Schools Netball Association League competition and the S3As took the trophy! The S2A, S3A and 2nd VII also won their Aberdeen Secondary Schools Tournaments.
Who leads Netball lessons and coaching?
We have dedicated coaching and teaching from Monday to Saturday for Junior and Senior pupils with sessions led by our incredible staff, many who have their own personal netball success stories including representing Scotland in Commonwealth and European Championships.
Where do pupils play?
RGC’s Countesswells Sports Field boasts 39 acres of pitch space to support our PE and Sport programme and is easily accessed from our Schoolhill campus. In the summer term our Netballers benefit from the on-site 6 outdoor Netball courts. In the colder months we use indoor courts both at our school site and throughout the city.
How does RGC continually challenge talented netball players?
RGC netball offers opportunities for all at both participation and elite levels, it’s at the heart of our ethos. We have incredibly talented netball players within the school level competitions and many who have the skill and ability to play to the highest level. Every year, we nominate many pupils to attend district trials where we have had great success at both Under 15 and Under 17 level.
RGC’s history of providing pathways to the gifted player is evident, many of our pupils have and currently play for Gordonians Netball Club, in the Aberdeen first division adult league, with some also representing Scotland. Current pupil Ava (S4) has just been selected to represent Scotland in the U15 national team and former pupil Emma Love, Class of ‘17, currently represents Scottish Netball at the highest level.
What does the future of netball at RGC look like?
The future of Netball is changing with more men now playing and it is no longer seen as a sport for only women and girls. At elite level, both England and Scotland have recently invited their men's team to play against the women's side. Additionally, mixed netball is growing in numbers worldwide.
We have big ambitions to increase participation and performance in the sport for all RGC pupils from beginner to performance level where they develop a passion for the game throughout their years at school and beyond. Our ambition is to stay at the forefront of developing netball in the North East and Scotland and provide opportunities and support to the wider netball community.