Who can participate in Mother Earth futureFERNS?

Children who are aged five years and over.  

Mother Earth futureFERNS is Netball New Zealand’s official junior Netball programme and it is being phased in across the country from 2014, with first phase focussing on the new Year 1 & 2 and Year 3 & 4 programmes.  
Mother Earth futureFERNS  is a game that grows with the player, Year 1 & 2 play 4 v 4 over one third of a Netball court, the Year 3 & 4 play 5 v 5 over two thirds of a Netball court, Year 5 & 6 play 6 v 6 on a full court and Year 7 & 8 play 7 v 7 on a full court., 

Who runs the Mother Earth futureFERNS programme?

The programme is being delivered by endorsed Mother Earth futureFERNS providers. Netball Centres need to be endorsed to offer the new programme. These endorsed providers will deliver the Mother Earth futureFERNS programme in its entirety which includes coaching staff attending training workshops, the use of modified equipment and the implementation of skill development activities and modified games on game day.

Check the map to see if your local Netball Centre is an endorsed provider.

What are the benefits of Mother Earth futureFERNS?

More Passes, More Play, more FUN.

Mother Earth futureFERNS has been developed after considering the findings from the Junior Netball Review, local research, academic research, other sports and feedback from pilots run in 14 Netball Centres throughout the country in 2013.

The new junior Netball programme meets the players’ social, physical and cognitive needs and abilities. Children are not mini adults so their sport is being modified accordingly.

Some of the benefits are:

  • More touches on the ball which means more opportunities for development.
  • Focus on developing the fundamental movement skills.
  • Less players on court, therefore less complicated decision making.
  • Modified equipment and court size – scaled down from the adult version to fit the children.
  • More attempted and successful shots at goal.
  • Developing a lifelong love of Netball.

How long does the programme run for?

NNZ recommends the programme runs for a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of 10 weeks for Year 1 – 4 players. 10 session plans which offer a different skill each week are provided for Year 5 - 8

What is the cost to participant in Mother Earth futureFERNS?

The cost will vary from Centre to Centre.  Please contact your local Netball Centre to obtain the cost.

How do we sign up for Mother Earth futureFERNS?

Children can only join Mother Earth futureFERNS at endorsed Netball Centre’s.  Contact your local Netball Centre or ask the teacher in charge of Netball at your school.

My child has never played Netball before. Will they fit in?

Yes. Mother Earth futureFERNS is designed to help children develop fundamental and basic Netball skills. Junior Co-ordinators will adapt activities to ensure that players are assisted or extended. Mother Earth futureFERNS caters for players at all levels and provides a safe and enjoyable introduction to Netball.

I’m an umpire, but I see in the guidelines there isn’t an umpire or a whistle. I really enjoy working with kids that age, how can I help out?

Although in Year 1 - 4  we do not use an umpire, the players are provided with on-court support. At this early stage of development, the focus is on letting the players play. During game time, to assist and support the players, a Star Helper or Junior Co-ordinator is on court. This person will provide gentle instructions to keep the game moving and limit stoppages. Standing just behind the player with the ball, the helpers and/or co-ordinators can provide instant feedback and assistance to these players. Most importantly, this person will make every effort to ensure that all players are having opportunities to pass, catch, shoot and of course have FUN.  A number of umpires have wanted to be able to help the players from an on-court position for years, so now the opportunity is available.

I would love to coach a team, but it has been years since I played or coached any team and I am afraid of the other parents judging my performance. What assistance or opportunities does this new junior Netball programme provide?

You are not the only parent feeling the same.  Frequently we are asked “I don’t know how to teach kids to pivot, I never realised it was so hard”. For a number of people, they are only reintroduced to Netball as their children begin to play. Within Mother Earth futureFERNS you can decide what level of responsibility you wish to undertake. If you are experienced and feel confident, a Junior Co-ordinator role would be ideal. As the Junior Co-ordinator, you manage the implementation of game day, leading the warm-up, cool down, skill development activities and support the players during game time. Assisting Junior Co-ordinators are the Star Helpers. The Star Helpers role is ideal for those who are keen to help out but are happy to be guided through game day working with a small number of players during activity time.

I find I don’t have time to plan my practice sessions, or just can’t think of any new activities to do with my players. Where can I access some age appropriate coaching resources?

NNZ’s new Mother Earth futureFERNS programme includes a range of ctivities inn th Year 1 & 2 coach resource, Year 3 & 4 coach resource, Year 5 & 6 coach resource, and Year 7 & 8 coach resource.

Why have the rules, game and equipment been modified?

Sport for young people ought to be modified to suit their age, size and ability as children are not mini adults. Netball has been modified since the 1900’s and as we learn more from reviews, research and other sports, further adaptions have been made to ensure the game meets the needs of the players and grows as the players grow. Mother Earth futureFERNS aims to provide the players a fun and safe environment, maximise opportunities to participate and develop their skills and provide a progressive introduction to Netball, developing a lifelong love of the game.

How will players learn to play 7 v 7?

25) Progressing from 4 v 4, 5 v 5, 6 v 6 games before the 7 v 7 game is a sound educational method process. Netball is a complex game. The modified games provide more exposure to less complicated decision making situations which will assist in tactical development. The essence of the game hasn’t changed and players will have the opportunity to develop the fundamental skills providing a strong foundation for their Netball future.

We have boys at school who want to play, are they allowed?

Boys up to the age of 12 years are entitled to participate in Netball without limitations. This means that boys up to the age of 12 years can play Netball at a school or Netball Centre with no restriction on playing positions or numbers on court.

The focus of junior Netball Year 1 – 4 is on developing the fundamental skills and these skills are applicable to a large number of other sports so will be beneficial to all young players.

Boys who are 12 years and over and in Year 7 & 8 may continue to play at the discretion of the Netball Centre, however, NNZ recommends a maximum of three boys playing on court in any position at one time at school, Centre and/or representative level.

Who do I contact if I want to find out more information about Mother Earth futureFERNS?

To learn more about Mother Earth futureFERNS check out  www.futureferns.co.nz

If you would like to know if your Netball Centre is rolling out either talk to someone on your local committee or contact your Netball Zone Community Netball Manager.