Source: Manchester Thunder

Research programme established to promote, develop and maximise the impact of ParaNetball

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Manchester Thunder, Manchester Metropolitan University and Nichols plc in collaboration with England Netball working to understand the barriers to both overall participation and in para-athletes achieving their potential.

Initially focused on understanding participation, player retention and overall athlete experience, the programme will identify key themes and reasons for participation and drop out to help design and implement methods that will support para-netball growth and engagement. It is anticipated that this will inform training programmes and will form the basis of follow-on research projects in areas such as training adaptation, athlete enablement and support.

The multi-faceted programme will bring together a task force of leading researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute of Sport, who working alongside Manchester Thunder’s Head of ParaNetball will provide access to hands on experience across an array of disciplines such as, applied sport and para-sport physiology, biomechanics of injury, performance analysis, performance psychology, and sport coaching in the community, to name a few.

Christina Langley, Doctor of Musculoskeletal Health, and Performance Physiology at Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport said: “This programme represents yet another example of the strength of our partnership with Manchester Thunder. The Institute of Sport’s purpose is to push boundaries, improve lives and shape society and working with Thunder’s ParaNetball programme we have the potential to achieve this in a very real way.

“Our approach of conducting research directly on the intended end-users and working with Manchester Thunder to embed the research directly within the club, we maximise relevance, whilst setting new standards.”

Richard Evans, England Netball’s Strategic Lead for Disability and Inclusion, noted: “The number of D/deaf and disabled women and girls playing netball is growing year on year. To ensure this trend continues it is important that we also look to grow our understanding of the D/deaf and disabled community and the drivers behind them taking up ParaNetball. This collaboration looks to build on the experiences of players to help shape good practice in this new and exciting area of our sport”.

Christine Shillington, Nichols plc’s People and Sustainability Director, noted: “When we announced our partnership with Manchester Thunder to support the growth of ParaNetball, this is exactly what we had in mind. The partnership is already having a real impact in the community, and the engagement of the North West’s leading academics will act as a further catalyst for our ambitious plans”.

Katie Thompson, Manchester Thunder’s Head of ParaNetball, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Manchester Metropolitan University to break new ground in understanding what is possible for our ParaNetball athletes.

“The experience and capabilities they bring will ensure that we deliver best-practice aligned training and athlete support at all times and will enable us to continue growing throughout the North West in a considered, supportive and empowering manner.”

The joint research project will begin in June 2023.

With thanks to Manchester Thunder