The Netball Players Association is delighted to welcome former England Netball Internationals Tamsin Greenway and Pamela Cookey as Alumni Members. Hear what both Tamsin and Pam had to say on the launch of the NPA and its vital role in supporting the growth of netball as the sport professionalises.
Q. WHY DO YOU THINK THE NPA IS SO IMPORTANT?
Tamsin: Netball is in a transitional stage right now and as it grows and moves into a more professional era it’s important the players have a voice, are represented and understand what all the changes will mean to them, it means the sport, teams, NGB and players can move forward together.
Pam: The NPA provides guidance and support in an ever evolving environment, to help players past and present further develop their dreams and goals.
Q. WHAT AREAS AND ASPECTS OF NETBALL IN THE UK WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE NPA SUPPORT WITH?
Tamsin: I’d like to see the NPA support initially in the areas that will help the sport become professional and that will help the players the most. So in contract discussions and medical cover right now will be a great start. I think as everything grows and changes their role and support will adapt.
Pam: Player welfare (Wellbeing and Mental Health), promotion of the game, insurance, contracts and education is so important for an athlete, it would be beneficial for the NPA to lead in these areas. Secondly, bridging the gap between playing career and future employment is key. Thirdly, preparing young players for an opportunity to play professional sport. In summary the NPA should support and help define the life of players whether current or retired from the game.
Q. HOW COULD THE NPA HAVE SUPPORTED YOU AS AN ATHLETE WHEN YOU WERE PLAYING?
Tamsin: As a player the NPA would have been really important in some of the challenges I faced over the years. For example, contract discussions, injury issues and medical cover, individual commercial opportunities, and when I came back to play after having a child. All these things were new when I was playing and I had limited support or advice and I sort of muddled through.
Pam: Even though the NPA didn’t exist during my time as a player, it is encouraging to see that some of the people now involved have been a big influence in my life during and after my playing career in the aforementioned areas.
Q. HOW DO YOU SEE THE NPA BEING BENEFICIAL TO BOTH ROSES AND SUPERLEAGUE PLAYERS?
Tamsin: The NPA is important to both roses and VSNL players, and I really don’t think we should see this so separately. The NPA is important to Netball, and therefore whatever pathway or programme the player is in they should be part of it.
Pam: I see the NPA introducing the players perspective to both organisations’ boardrooms and giving positive feedback to future projects and developments of the game.
Q. HOW IMPORTANT IS PLAYER SUPPORT OF THE NPA OVER THE NEXT 12-24 MONTHS WHILST IT IS BECOMING ESTABLISHED?
Tamsin: Player support over the next 12-24 months is essential to get the NPA fully up, running and functional. It’s something all players should be buying into as over the years you have no idea what is going to happen in your career. We also need to remember that decisions from the top that maybe don’t impact you now, will eventually and so having a collective voice and being part of something powerful and positive is such a good thing for our sport.
Pam: Player support of the NPA is vital over the next 12-24 months whilst the NPA becomes established. The NPA is laying the foundations of player representation in an ever changing ever growing sport with the aim of full professionalisation. The players support and input would help the game reach its full potential.
Q. WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE THE NPA PLAYING IN UK NETBALL IN 5 YEARS TIME?
Tamsin: The role I see the NPA taking in the next few years is varied depending on the direction of the sport, however I think it will be an essential part of netball and in the future we’ll look back and wondered how we coped without it!