Biomedical Sciences

1st Division success for Biomedical Netball Team

The Biomedical Netball team have reached the top of the 1st Division in the University of Edinburgh. Jodie Smith, this year's Team Captain, tells us how a team that started with no members managed to get so far so fast.


The Biomedical Teaching Organisation talks to Biomed Netball Team Captain Jodie Smith, BSc Reproductive Biology Honours year student, about how she got her team to the top.

Members of the Biomed Netball Team
Biomed Netball Team, from left to right: Alice Roberts, Emily Drummond, Phoebe Liddell, Fiona McCann, Jodie Smith, Amy Bowes, Eleanor Mocatta, Hannah Walke, Laura Nicholson, and Charlotte Coxon.

Top of 1st Division! That’s amazing work over a short time period; how did the team get to where they are?

Thank you! I’m so proud of how far we’ve come as a team over the year and I cannot believe we’re at the top of Division 1! I think the main thing that’s helped us is that we’re all friends – we all know how each other play the game and how a certain person wants the ball passed to them etc., so I think getting to know each other so well has really helped our gameplay and communication. The weekly training sessions have also really helped us out: we’ve been able to train the match team to a higher standard, improving tactics and skills, and we’ve also been able to teach beginners the basics. Some of these beginners have progressed so much that they’ve ended up on our match team, so it’s great to see such improvement. I’m really hoping the girls carry on playing for the team next year, even though I can’t.

What was the team like when you started?

I was given the team in May last year, with nothing but a Facebook page full of people interested in potentially joining a Biomed team. I had no money to put towards the team, no idea of the right people to contact to get us into the league, and no actual team! I started the team this year by holding a taster session at the university gym, which I’d advertised profusely at the Freshers Week Activity Fair. The taster session was a success – we had around 40 people turn up, all interested in playing for us, or interested in learning to play netball from scratch. The first few matches were sketchy; I’d not been able to determine everyone’s skills in training yet, so people were playing in positions they weren’t used to, and we had a few absolute beginners playing in the matches, so it wasn’t great. Throughout Semester 1 we really got to grips with what positions people were best in and formed a tight-knit match team. Semester 2 has really been the cherry on the top for the match team and we’ve been playing to the best of our ability and really enjoying every game.

How much and what kind of training do you have to do every week?

We have one hour-long training session a week in the university gym. During these sessions, we split the abilities up into beginners and advanced. I take the beginners and teach them basic passing, shooting, defending and footwork skills; my vice-captains take the advanced players and coach them in match tactics, fitness, and more intense netball skills. For the last half of training, we usually play a few short matches in teams where the beginners and advanced players are mixed, so that everyone has the chance to take part and learn from each other.

Which team has been the most challenging to play so far?

Definitely the team called the Edinburgh Giraffes! They definitely live up to their name – we’ve never seen a team so tall! They absolutely annihilated us in our Semester 1 match, but we managed to beat them 24-20 in Semester 2, so that was a personal victory for our team.

What ambitions does the team have for the future?

I graduate this year, so I’ve passed the team onto one of my vice-captains. She and I have discussed where we’d like to see the team go in the next year, and it’s very exciting now the team has more substance, as it will make starting the 2018/19 year easier. We aim to stay as close to the top of Division 1 as possible, and with the training the new captain is currently organising, I can see already that the team is going to be very well prepared for the matches. We’re also aiming to get a sponsor now that our team has done so well this year – it would be nice to have somewhere to hold socials so that our team could bond even more. I’d also like to see the team progress to a point where there could be a 1s and 2s team, so that people had more match time and were able to play in their ability range, but this is dependent on the amount of people joining! I just hope that everyone continues to have fun and that the amazing teamwork continues: captaining this team has been a pleasure and I’m definitely going to miss it.

Related links

Sport & Exercise at the University of Edinburgh

The Biomedical Teaching Organisation