Socialisation through sports have been studied extensively, and there have come about varying findings on what kind of social constructions they are and what socialisation experiences they offer.

It’s tedious to go into the psychology of it all, but research from the ‘80s and ‘90s deviated from focus on socialisation outcomes and put emphasis on the social processes linked to sport participation. Findings ultimately boil down to the following points:

  • There are varying ways in which sports are organised across athletic programs, teams, and other situations, which create all types of socialisation experiences, positive and negative.
  • Playing is a matter of selection and elimination. Coaches pick their players and those who manage to keep on playing demonstrate a difference in their qualities and relationships.
  • Sports experiences take on meaning based on various contexts related to gender, ethnicity, social status, age, ability, etc. These go through a shift as people move forward and redefine themselves and their connections with other people.
  • Socialisation through sports transpires by means of social interaction brought on by participation. Interaction may be influenced by different factors, including ones that don’t belong to sport environments.
  • Sports-oriented socialisation is associated with identity and identity development issues.

Social netball is unique and special in that it applies the positive and does away with the negative. It’s true that different sports are organised in different ways, and social netball is organised to provide a thoroughly positive social experience.

For instance, Melbourne Social Netball allows people older than 18, both men and women, no matter their skill level, no matter their status (social, civil, etc.), to play. You don’t need to be picked by a coach either to be able to play. You can also keep on playing as long as you’re interested and compliant with the organisation’s regulations.

Incidentally, interaction in Melbourne Social Netball is definitely influenced by factors outside sport environments because participants tend to mix and mingle afterwards. Coming from game venues like Riverside Golf and Tennis Centre, Richmond Recreation Centre, Ryan’s Reserve, Flagstaff Gardens, and Melbourne High School, players, officials, and spectators usually get together for a post-match meal or drink.

As far as identity goes, developing one as a netballer, even a strictly social one, is definitely a benefit.

Discourses on sports and their related social influence will continue to be part of the narratives of the 21st century culture. Beyond all the psychobabble, however, social netball will continue to provide Melbourne with opportunities for fun, friendship, and fitness.

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