If there is one way to blow away the Christmas cobwebs, Mintridge know how and that’s a preseason netball programme led by Ex England Netball Captain and Mintridge Ambassador, Pamela Cookey!

After an obligatory Byfords breakfast to kick start the day, Pamela travelled to Gresham’s School with the Mintridge team (including an OG) on Saturday 6th January! She was met by the netball coaching staff and taken across to the sports hall where a day of preseason fun awaited.

Pamela led a powerful presentation on her double life of business as well as her sport. Her glittering netball career of 114 England Caps went hand in hand with her education and more recently her business career. Pamela urged the girls to focus on both, everyone is very different but one very much supports the other. After discussing how to deal with pressure, overcoming challenges and the importance of having fun in whatever path you choose, Pamela opened the floor to questions. Fantastic questions came in from U14’s through to the 1st team:

“How were netballers viewed in the Athletes Village at the Commonwealth Games?”

“Who is the toughest defender that you have played against?”

“What is the biggest injury that you have come back from?”

“How do you alter your game to play against taller defenders?”

We could have spent so much longer on questions as the Gresham’s girls had some great ones up their sleeves but a certain Miss Cookey had other items on her agenda, and where better to start than with fitness? Happy days!

Pamela created a Circuits session for the sixteen students ranging from the plank through to ball based partner work. Oh, and how could we forget the shuttles that we all ended on? The girls worked incredibly hard, demonstrating their commitment for netball for the upcoming term to the most successful Super League player of all time.

After a recovery break, Pamela turned her attention to the second session of the day which focussed on having a strong presence on court. Pamela gave the girls some great hints and tips which will help the 1st team particularly as they look ahead to the regional tournament later in the term.

The Mintridge team were invited to join the staff in the pavilion for the lunch break where Pamela was able to meet Gresham’s Headmaster, Mr Robb as well. Thank you very much to the school for a delicious lunch that set us in good stead for the afternoon’s session.

Circle work would be the final focus of Pamela’s sessions and the shooting extraordinaire was in her element. Pamela looked at everyone’s role on court and she gave some great advice defensively, feeding in as well as shooting itself. The shuffle shot was a favourite amongst the shooters in the group as they looked to implement it into their own game plan.

The girls cooled down after working extremely hard throughout the day before Pamela made a short presentation.

As part of a Mintridge silver programme, two students are selected to be mentored for six months by their ambassador. Esme and Florence were selected by Pamela based on their attitude and talent throughout the day and the Mintridge team are looking forward to watching the development of the programme via Skype and Playwaze. Well done to two very deserving winners of the silver programme. Emma and Rosie were both highly commended as well. It was great for Mintridge to be able to catch up with England Netballer, Eboni Beckford – Chambers’ mentees, Lucie and Daisy and to hear the positive impact that the mentoring had on them. Eboni was so pleased to hear how they are getting on! Thank you very much to Daisy for your kind words to Pamela and the Mintridge team about the programme.

It isn’t a Mintridge day without photos and autographs with the ambassador in question, which the girls loved. Pamela signed an autograph card for everyone before diving into the Twitter frame for some highly sought after selfies with the Gresham’s gang.

Congratulations to all the girls that were involved and thank you for working so hard for Pamela throughout the whole day.

If you would like to see the video from the day, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwo4gfdjvSw

Gresham’s School staff will have the full album of photos from the day for everyone to enjoy if you would like to see more.

Thank you very much to Mrs Flower and the Gresham’s staff for your wonderful hospitality throughout the day. Mintridge Director, Alex Paske particularly enjoyed being back as an Old Greshamian and is looking forward to working with the netball mentees once again over the next six months. Bring it on!