Published: 13/05/2016 | AUTHOR: Natalie George
I’m Natalie, an Account Manager at JJ and the proud founder of the Team JJ netball club.
I’ve been a keen player for many years and with so many other ladies across the barn who were keen to get involved, Team JJ was born.
We’ve been going strong now since 2014 and our squad is made up of a dozen strong ladies from both studio and client services, all with one common purpose – to get on the netball courts and have some fun.
JJ isn’t just about working hard to deliver great results for our clients. It encourages a good work-life balance too, which we all know is important in life. Grouping together to play a team sport such as netball is great fun but also has other benefits. I was reading an article recently by fitness columnist, Annie Ross, from the Evening Standard about the additional benefits of team sports:
• Learning to take feedback
• Setting goals and sticking to them
• Stress management
I’ve always found these benefits to be true. With better communication across the agency comes a more collaborative and productive working environment in my opinion.
We’ve been putting these benefits to the test and have been taking part in a local recreational league called GoMammoth, where companies can enter a squad and compete for the top spot.
The league sees us competing in weekly matches against various other local teams and the first league of 2016 has just come to a close. So here’s how we got on…
We were lucky enough to have some new joiners in 2016, who had heard about the now famous JJ netball team.
This meant that our players from previous seasons combined with the fresh blood that the new joiners bought with them and JJ could enter the spring league with a strong combination of talent and a thirst for victory.
Players rejoining the team from the 2014/2015 seasons were Jenny, Scarlet, Laura, Sarah A, Marina, Hannah G and Paula. New to the team for 2016 were Emily, Katrina and Amy.
Our first match against the Nets Top Models saw us meeting straight after work to get down to some much needed training, after having had a six-month break from the league. We worked on some drills and half court match play, trying out different players in different positions to ensure everyone was finding their feet. A favourite ball skills drill was “Cut the cake”, not just because we all like cake, but also to get everyone moving and practising passing, footwork, pivoting and receiving the ball on the move.
The first game was very close and we narrowly missed out on a win. The training came in handy and allowed us to work the ball up the court in a controlled way.
The following week saw us meet our old rivals from previous seasons – The Sharks, a very strong team who unfortunately managed to snatch victory from us.
It wasn’t until week three that we had our first taste of victory against C’est La Veeva, beating them 8-4. But this wasn’t without a set-back – Emily had been playing a strong game of Wing Attack when towards the end of the game she suffered a broken finger. This took her out for not only the game but sadly for the rest of the season.
Emily, who still came along to matches to cheer us on whenever possible, said:
“Nat has been a brilliant coach as well as colleague, despite my netball career being cut short – who knew it was such a “dangerous” sport?! Having started at JJ less than six months ago it’s been a great way to get to know everyone better and a lot of fun. Once I get rid of the splint I’ll definitely be going back!”
Recovering from losing a player, we were determined to play to our very best when we next played C’est La Veeva. The following week we did just that and increased our goal margin drastically to win 21-7, with some superb shooting from Sarah and Marina.
Amy, Hannah, Jenny and Paula rotated to provide some strong passing around centre court to move the ball up into the attacking area.
Myself and Scarlet headed up the defence, intercepting balls and trying to stop the opposition from scoring at all costs.
Katrina – the most versatile of us all – switched between shooter and defender throughout the season, scoring goals as well as defending strongly.
We even managed to draft in our Chief Executive, James’, daughter Harriet to play a few games with us. Paula’s daughter (too young to play unfortunately) also joined us on the sidelines every week, winning her the title of JJ’s dedicated team mascot.
It was week six when Team JJ managed to persuade Zea to give it a go too. Having not played for 14 years, she was very apprehensive – but she was soon back on court showcasing her nippy dodges and great spacing. Zea also came with the benefit of being versatile, playing either shooter or centre court positions.
The final saw us meet head to head with The Sharks again. We lost sadly, but we had a great time – and we all went out for dinner to celebrate.
Being a part of our netball squad has been a fantastic way to improve communications throughout the agency. It gets us all chatting and allows people to get to know each other better when they don’t usually work together on a day-to-day basis.
If you like the sound of the company culture at JJ, why not check out our vacancies? We’re always keen to hear from likeminded individuals, especially if they’re good at netball!