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Further updated 7th January 2015.  Latest news: Versatitlity tournament May 23rd, see below.  Change of venue and dates for U16 County Academy, see below.

On this page: Netball First - what is it?  About Satellite Academies.  About County Academies.  How to be a part of the Academies.  How long do they run for.  Cost.  About the Coaches.  Competition and Academies. Versatility Tournament.  Details about the current Birmingham Academies [for current athletes and parents]

Netball First - what is it?

The Netball First Pathway is the England Netball process for developing Athletes with the attributes to attain excellence.  The programmes within the pathway are focused on developing Athletes to reach their potential and form the foundations to enable England Netball to be the 'Number 1 Ranked Team in the World'.

Winning the Netball World Championships and becoming the best team in the world is one of England Netball’s clearest goals. The England Performance Pathway is a vital part of establishing England as the number 1 team in the world, by generating world class Athletes. 

County and Satellite Netball Academies such as those in Birmingham are the first step on the Performance Pathway.

Can you tell me more about the Satellite Academies?

Satellite Academies are the first entrance into the Netball First Performance Pathway and the focus is on individual development. This stage coincides with peak motor learning, therefore Athletes are learning how to train and develop the skills of Netball. They are also learning basic technical/tactical skills, and ancillary capacities, including warm up and cool down, hydration and nutrition, recovery, relaxation and focusing.  Learning about fitness and injury prevention through exercise is an important part of the Academy, as is decision making during learning activity.  All Athletes receive a log book which includes a training programme.

Satellite Academy 3 for school year 7’s focuses more on the fundamentals of balance and movement, as well as throwing, meeting the ball and the correct technique for shooting.  It’s a preparation course for trialling for the U14 Satellite Academy.

Is the County Academy the same as the Satellite Academies, but for older players?

No, the purpose of this programme is to focus on working with another player. The emphasis remains on fitness, injury prevention through exercise, training and skill development with competition being used to test and refine skills. Again an athlete making decisions within learning activity and the game is an important part of the Academy.  All Athletes receive a work folder which includes a training programme.

How can I be part of the Birmingham Netball Academies?

Athletes have to be nominated by either a club coach or school teacher.  During May, all Birmingham Netball Clubs and Schools will be asked to identify players who may be suitable for the academies and invite them along to a screening/trial day.  Trials are normally held early September and Athletes are notified if they have been successful or not soon after.  We do not trial for Yr 7, all players nominated will take part.

How many weeks do Netball Academies run for?

Athletes selected for the County Academy will be asked to commit to a total of 30 weeks of training sessions each year whilst those in the Satellite Academies; 15 weeks.  This is a significant increase on what has previously taken place. Satellite 3 Academy for school year 7’s are currently offered 3 x 3 hour sessions, this is likely to increase in 2015/16.

How much does it cost to be part of the academies?

We are reviewing costs for 2015/16.  For anyone struggling to pay academy fees, it is always advised that Athletes approach their schools to seek financial help; schools have in the past been extremely supportive.    

About Academy Coaches

All our coaches are:

Minimum Level Two Coaching Qualification [We have one Level Three Coach who all coaches will work with at some point in order to receive mentoring,  we also have a Regional Academy Coach working with us, this helps with filtering coaching information from the Regional Academy down to Birmingham Academies.

All Lead Coaches have numerous years’ experience [Each has 20 years+ !!]

All have a DBS check

All have undertaken First Aid and Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults training.

What about netball competition for the Academy Players?

As previously mentioned, the Netball First Performance Pathway, in the early stages, is about fitness, skill development, all round player development [Athletes learning about all playing positions], decision making, working with others etc., and therefore competition is not included in this part of the pathway [other than the Versatility Tournament – see below].  Competition is provided through the Athlete’s school or club matches.

West Midlands Versatility Tournament

This is a Regional tournament involving all the Academies in the West Midlands.  Usually held at Bromsgrove School, it’s a lovely day out for parents and other supporters, as well as a chance to compete against other Counties, [Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Shropshire, North Staffordshire, South Staffordshire and us of course!]. Excellent catering facilities and free parking, for sat nav use B61 7HP.  The date for the 2015 tournament is Saturday 23 May.  U14’s usually play in the morning [8.45am – 12.30pm] and U16’s in the afternoon 1.00pm – 4.00pm.  Cost is normally £4 per player.

For more information about Netball First please see

Netball Academies in Birmingham

Birmingham has four academies - three satellite academies: Satellite One and Two are for Under 14’s [generally school years 8 and 9] and this year we trialled an Under 12 [year 7] academy.  This has proved very successful and so in 2015/16 the U12 [year 7] academy will be part of Birmingham’s Netball First programme.

We also run an Under 16 County Academy [generally school years 10 and 11].

Where and when 2014/15

Remaining dates for County U16:

12, 19, 26 January

2, 9, 23 February

2, 9, 16, 23 March

13, 20, 27 April

18 May

6.00pm - 8.00pm

at North Birmingham Academy, 395 College Road, Perry Common, B44 0HF

Remaining dates for Satellite U14 [1 and 2] 

11,18 January

8 February

1, 8, 15, 22 March

9.00am – 11.00am

at Nechells Sports Centre, B7 5DT

Remaining date for Satellite U12 [Yr 7]

18 January 11.00 – 2.00pm

at Nechells Sports Centre, B7 5DT

Advise for Athletes:

Wear warm clothing – legs and arms should be well covered when you arrive and when you leave.

Bring lots of water

Bring a little snack – no crisps please [salt dehydrates!]

Tell us about any injuries or if you are not feeling too good

If you are injured can you still attend and listen or do passive feeding?

Bring a ball

Be prepared to do things differently and work hard

Make mistakes, you are here to learn!

If you have forgotten how to do the exercises in the log books or you need help in getting the technique right, take a look at Netball First on You Tube