Sheffield teenager wins prestigious netball award

A Sheffield teenager has won a prestigious netball award, beating competition from adults and other entries from across Yorkshire.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 4:23 pm
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 5:29 pm

Hannah Blyth has been awarded the Yorkshire Netball’s Equality & Diversity Role Model Award, winning above all other entries from adults around the whole region, during the Yorkshire Netball Volunteer and Leeds Rhino Superleague Awards on Sunday, July 4.

Hannah was invited to attend in person with her mum to the awards held at the Emerald Suite at Headingley Stadium but just two days beforehand she discovered a schoolfriend had tested positive for Covid so neither could go to the grand awards night due to having to isolate.

The lead coach of Net4All collected the award on her behalf but Dan Ryan, head coach of the Superleague Leeds Rhino netball squad, sent a personal video message to Hannah to congratulate her.

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Hannah Blyth
Hannah Blyth

15-year-old Hannah, who started playing at Sheffield Concord Netball in Y4, has been also coaching at the Net4All section of Sheffield Concord Netball Club for SEND junior and senior players since she was in Year 8 in 2019, alongside adult and other junior coaches.

During lockdown Hannah really stepped up and took on activities that many 14-year-olds would find challenging.

She joined in monthly Zoom sessions and set exercises, added her photo to the Easter card, put her video in of a mini skill to add to the 'pass it on' video.

As Hannah's confidence grew, she then took on planning, setting and designing a google slides quiz for Christmas. She set the quiz and sent it to a special needs expert to check that it would be accessible to all the group before delivering it at an extra Zoom session.

Hannah then started to add something each month to the Zoom activities.

In January she set physical tasks as part of the Zoom (planned ahead with the lead coach) and then challenged them to practice and improve for the next session. In February she led the section to test their progress and set a rules challenge of bringing two to the next month.

Then, in March she led the rules sharing with all the participants.

When the club resumed face to face training in April she joined the other coaches in leading sections of the session.

The teen has been to every session both in person and on Zoom since 2019, even coaching the team at the ParaNetball Championships in February 2020 where they finished with National Silver medals.

Judges said she has a delightful manner with the participants, encouraging and guiding sensitively and as such is both a fantastic role model to the players but also to her peers.