In a watershed moment for the sport in this state, Netball NSW is delighted to announce the launch of a new range of apparel designed to provide a more inclusive and welcoming environment for people of all ages, gender identity and cultural backgrounds.
The uniforms, launched in conjunction with apparel partner Valour Sport’s ONE TEAM initiative, are the culmination of a body of work undertaken by the organisation after Netball Australia’s State of the Game Review.
The Review, which was chaired by Australian Diamonds and Swifts legend Liz Ellis AM, highlighted that a lack of flexibility regarding uniforms was proving to be a barrier to many in the community taking up, or continuing their involvement in, netball.
Netball NSW’s long-term hope is that all Clubs and Associations will adopt a mix-and-match approach to netball uniforms to ensure grassroots participants feel comfortable when taking the court for their local teams.
Alongside the traditional netball dress, the new apparel incorporates a range of singlets, t-shirts, long-sleeve tops, shorts and compression wear to provide the netball community with a range of on-court options.
Netball NSW CEO Tain Drinkwater said a flexible approach to uniforms was vital to ensure the game’s continued growth and broadening its appeal.
“Netball NSW believes that all participants should, as far as possible, be supported in wearing a uniform that allows them to participate in netball in the manner in which they feel most comfortable, Drinkwater said.
“Contrary to popular belief, the rules of netball do not indicate that a registered playing uniform must be a dress. The rules indicate that it must be the registered playing uniform. This uniform is defined by Clubs and approved by Associations. This means our grassroots community has the chance to ensure uniforms are inclusive for everyone.
“The key aim of this is to make sure we advance our position as a sport for people not just of all cultural backgrounds and gender identities, but all shapes and sizes too. It is clear that rigidity when it comes to Clubs only allowing dresses is holding back our participation numbers.
“We are encouraging all affiliated Clubs and Associations to embrace adaptability and flexibility around uniforms in order to encourage continued participation and enjoyment in our sport. From today, they have the tools to do just that, backed by new Inclusive Uniform Guidelines prepared by Netball NSW.
“In many ways this is a watershed moment. Netball has been the leader in so many areas, but not when it comes to widening its appeal beyond traditional bases. It is time to change that.”
Matthew Knight, Managing Director of Valour Sport, said his team was delighted to take part in the ground-breaking initiative for netball in NSW.
“This is a wonderful example of how commercial partners can work together to provide better outcomes for both sport and individuals,” Knight said.
“On the back of the State of the Game Review we believe Valour Sport can be the ‘creative thinker’ mentioned in the report by delivering a uniform concept that allows Associations, Clubs and participants to choose garments which cater for comfort, cost and both cultural and personal sensitivities.
“To know that we are having an impact in encouraging participation in sport is truly rewarding."