Publish date: 22 May 2023
Meet Carol Nolan, Specialist Practitioner in Mental Health and Service Manager Liaison and Diversion Services/Northwest London Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (FCAMHS).
Carol (pictured centre) has always had an interest in netball since her younger years. But since the pandemic, she’s had to push herself out of her comfort zone to improve her mental and physical wellbeing through her love of netball.
As part of the West London Get Fit campaign, we asked Carol to share her netballing journey with us, and how taking part has helped her.
What made you want to take up netball?
I used to play netball at primary and the secondary school and I played competitively for the schools and absolutely loved it! When I was younger, I always played Goalkeeper (prevents the other team from scoring in the net) as I was the tallest girl.
I’ve tried a couple of times to join a netball team over the years but unfortunately, they weren’t very welcoming so never progressed. Then in 2022 I saw that a group had been set up for training and then playing as part of a team locally. The first session was free, so I took a chance and went. All types of women, from many different backgrounds attended and they were so welcoming.
How long have you been participating, and what does taking part mean to you?
Since September 2022 I’ve been playing once a week as part of a team. Since last month I started playing for a second team on a Thursday in another league as I love it so much and want to get fitter!
I love that I can feel I'm getting fitter each week. It’s great to be playing as part of a team with other women and just having fun, as well as learning new skills and ways to defend too.
What does your training schedule look like in a typical week?
I train or play a match every Tuesday and Thursday. A match is 40 mins at 8 minutes per quarter. Training can be for 2 hours when there isn’t a match, and we practice specific skills.
What are the mental and physical benefits of netball for you?
Netball has hugely helped my physical and mental health, especially since Covid. I needed to get out more after the lockdowns, as I had got used to being at home. Working in the NHS during Covid had been a really challenging period for a lot of us. I had to force myself to do something challenging and different and that involved meeting other people.
For an hour I totally switch off and leave work or family issues behind. The exercise naturally lifts my mood and I always end the session smiling.
When I first started, I was so unfit, and I dreaded going. But now it’s much easier and I love playing with much younger women who stretch my skills! I like being one of the oldest and still being able to play a competitive sport. I feel great when I give someone younger a ‘run for their money,’ so to speak!
And I have to say, I think I’m quite good.
Are you planning to take part in any other netball challenges/events – do you have any goals for this year?
I just want to continue playing for as long as I can and for my teams to go up a division - head for the top!
Well done, Carol. We wish you and the team the absolute best of luck this year!