Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s mini and junior players have been staying active at home with weekly live handball sessions throughout the lockdown. The club’s coaches have shared the planning and running of the sessions, which have included a warm-up, fitness, technical ball skills and a challenge. These have always been activities that could be done indoors in a small space with limited equipment. Every session finished off with a topic-based discussion.
The club also set up monthly Trivia quizzes for the young players as well as a colouring-in competition, wordsearch and crossword to help keep them occupied through the time at home. Monthly ‘Stay Active’ videos created by past and present club members were also shared on our social media channels to further encourage all club members to stay active and safe. The club even held their end-of-season awards parties via Zoom. With all of these activities you can get an idea of the incredible club spirit.
“The aim for the ‘Stay Active’ project was to encourage the young players to keep moving, engage with handball and for them to catch up with handball friends and coaches. By running these sessions, the young players finally got something structured in their weeks at home and it gave them something to look forward to every week. It made them happy, energetic and motivated to do more activity” says Vikings Chairperson and Head Coach Marlen Slinning Goulty.
In the anonymous feedback, one player said “It gave me something to look forward to, gave me a chance to keep fit, and because of one of the Zoom handball activities I have now taught myself to juggle!”
Another youngster said “The Zoom handball project has been really enjoyable to be a part of. The coaches have been really friendly and enthusiastic. There were lots of different activities to try so the sessions were never boring”.
Another young player said “Zoom handball has been fun, kept me fit, I’ve learnt new skills, it’s let me stay in touch with handball and given me something to look forward to each week”.
Juniors coach Adam Batley said “It has been difficult adapting due to the lack of space available, and making sessions fresh and different every week was a challenge. My highlight would be being able to see players coming back and to still be enjoying handball during this time”.
Marlen added: “The impact the project has had on our club members has been big. It has given the players new drive and energy every week. If it wasn’t for the Sport England Emergency Satellite funding, we might never have been able to run this project, so thank you Tyne & Wear Sport for giving us this opportunity. The feedback from our players has been amazing and has given us new drive to continue developing handball in partnership with our local communities. We’re always more than a handball club”.
Marlen last month received the ‘Pass on your Passion’ award from WeAreRISE (the new name for the merged Tyne & Wear Sport and Northumberland Sport), in recognition of her commitment, hard work and passion for keeping her young players active during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone at the Vikings would like to pass on our many congratulations to Marlen too!
“It has not been an easy time for any grassroots sports or their members these last few months. All the hard work volunteers in clubs and communities have put in to keep the clubs running has been outstanding” says club Marketing Officer Maria-Jose Gonzalez Alvarez. “Newcastle Vikings received a small amount from the Sport England Community Emergency Fund. Thank you to them for this great contribution during these difficult times”.
The club are aiming to start up junior and mini handball sessions again from 7th September, and always welcome new members from age 3 and upwards.