Todd Whiteroad moved to Stockholm from Tasmania, Australia to work for Täby International Engelska Skolan (IES) in 2010. Shortly after Todd joined the Stockholm Netball Club where, like many former basketballers, he reminded the netballers that layups can be compliant with the rules of netball.
While initially sceptical of Netball but willing to give a go to meet some English speakers outside of work, the more Todd learned the structure and strategy of Netball the more he realised how this sport was ideal to teach his physical education class at Täby IES. After lobbying his principle about the zones of play, non contact, obstruction and stepping rule that makes netball perfect all inclusive team sport, in 2017, Täby IES became the first Swedish school to purchase their own netball posts, netballs and bibs.
"We wanted to introduce netball to our school mainly because, in terms of team sport, the rules of the game demand more co-operation between all participants than most other team sports, so all students feel a great sense of belonging during their experience with the game", says Todd Whiteroad from IES Täby. "Some students are also yet to find a form of physical activity that they enjoy, so we wanted to present this as a possible unique option for them, especially considering the presence of the Lynx Junior Netball Club in their local community."
"I would absolutely, 100% recommend this game to other schools based on our experience. I've had both male and female students asking if they could do netball again and this is one of the ultimate goals in Physical Education as a subject - to promote a motivation to be active"."
Todd Whiteroad - Head of Physical Education, Täby IES
But Todd wasn't finished there. Now that the school had netball lines on their basketball court and moveable posts it was time to recruit school teachers to start playing netball. Netball for students to develop team work, strategy development, physical control, and now for teachers to increase fitness, social interaction, an extra sense of belonging to notoriously temporary expat teachers. The team is made up of Australian, Irish, UK, NZ and Canadian teachers but also Swedes! Starting with different levels or no knowledge of the sport, the team learned on the court. Autumn 2019 the Täby school teachers played their first match against the Stockholm Netball Club and Autumn 2020 joined the Tuesday nights Viking League run by the Lynx Netball Club. In the league the "Täby Twisters" have won games against Lynx Red and Lynx Blue and come within one goal of the Stockholm Netball Club. A remarkable effort for a new team.
Todd's story is a great example of the breadth of Netball for not only building health, fitness, and teamwork but driving inclusivity by engaging different skill levels/physical abilities and inspiring community building.
It's not too late to register your work team or friends team to join the Viking league in the Spring season 2021!
Contact Netball Sweden with interest in;
- starting up a work team or a friends team to play netball in Sweden!