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Manchester Thunder launch ParaNetball research programme

Netball Super League champions Manchester Thunder, in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University, Nichols plc and England Netball, have launched a new research programme that aims to better understand the barriers to both overall participation and athletic potential of ParaNetball players.

Last November, Manchester Thunder ran their first ParaNetball event where more than 20 disabled people from across the Northwest travelled to Wright Robinson College to take part in the launch.

This new programme, starting this month, will initially focus on understanding participation, player retention and overall athlete experience to help identify key themes and reasons for participation and drop out. It’s hoped this research will help design and implement methods that will support ParaNetball growth and engagement.

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.

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.”

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”.

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