Netball stuck in neutral
On Target
February 14, 2020

Netball stuck in neutral

AFFILIATES OF THE St Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association (SVGNA), will next Tuesday evening, go through the formalities of attending the Annual General Meeting of the national netball organisation.

They will hear the executive’s report for the past two years and be updated on the financial status of the SVGNA.

But, what most attending that meeting will be interested in, is the election of officers for the next two years.

Unfortunately, it is only when this time comes around, one is likely to hear of the vagaries of the sport, and who are best to take positions on the national executive.

For the other 23 months, affiliates are least concerned about the affairs of the sport; a sport that for the past two decades have been stuck in neutral.

In fact, it has been a run of the mill; copy and paste type of operation, over such time.

This, as there has not been much of an effort to develop the sport beyond having elections and hosting an annual national club tournament, the firms and industrial and most recently, the re-introduction of the constituency tournament.

At best, the area tournaments, namely Sion Hill, Barrouallie and Richland Park somehow, have assumed the status of the showpieces for netball in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The latter, adequate out of season competition for those aspiring to make it to the national teams, as well as those on the team, and those who want to have some recreational netball.

But critically, we have not seen the desired effect of the development of players.

The current state of the sport has worsened overtime, as a myriad of issues has magnified.

Netball’s issues are not exclusive to the actual standard of play as unfolds on the courts, but the amount of time and energies spent on bettering the sport.

One can safely say, that not enough time has been spent by stakeholders of netball, to decisively and consciously stop the rot which has worsened with every passing year.

Unlike other sporting disciplines, Netball is one of the most privileged sports here, as it has

its own home and there are numerous under-utilised hard courts dotted across St Vincent and the Grenadines, where players can hone their skills uninterrupted.

Therefore, getting people to frequent these courts to develop their game, personally and as a group, continues to be a far fetched notion.

Young women are no longer attracted to netball in droves as they did many years ago.

This has left fewer persons actively engaged in active competitive netball, relegating the sport to a recreational activity.

With the accrued issues surrounding netball, naturally, there is that reduced interest and obviously, dwindling participation by both players and spectators.

The persons who care about netball have to move from highlighting netball’s plights and pitfalls, and make a move towards excavating the sport from it protracted rot.

We have to come to the reality check-point and acknowledge netball administration has become progressively worse.

Netball, as it is now, is in dire need of an overhaul.

Yes, many may harp and whine over the declining standards of the sport and the lack of interest in netball, but what netball needs is a clear pathway.

No one past or present executive, though, must be held responsible for where we are today, with our netball. As they all, under the period of review, have to take blame for the neglect, malaise and nonchalant way in which the sport has been administered.

It then stands to reason, that when affiliates of the SVGNA attend the association’s meeting next Tuesday at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School, they will put in place the right people, with the right focus for netball.

Such persons, if available, have to be the agents of change; they are the ones who have to be the lead actors in re-routing netball from the course it has been traversing for a period, too long.

But pessimism abounds, as persons close to the sport would readily accept that many of the affiliates are enjoying the status quo, while netball regresses and hope for any improvement dims.