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Help appreciated ... Future Ferns coaches celebrate giving up their time to volunteer coaching for the programme every week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

More than 200 primary school pupils from Eastern Southland laughed and ran their way through their final Future Ferns netball session at the MLT Events Centre on Wednesday.

The 200 pupils, from years 1 to 6, were split into 32 teams for their age groups and taught netball fundamentals.

Netball Eastern Southland school representative Dana Turnbull said the programme allowed both boys and girls to be involved in the sport.

The programme was skill-based, and helped to establish key foundations for netball.

“All the different activities are variations of modified netball to foster skill development in the game from a young age,” Turnbull said.

The programme taught skills such as co-ordination, ball skills, core balance and court play.

“Each week there is a new skill with a different focus being taught to the children for their age range about netball.”

The modified programme had removed the traditional positional play of netball and provided three main positions for the young players – defence, attack and centre.

“It’s been great having it this way – it’s hard enough at 5 years old to learn to catch and pass a ball without .. the different positional plays involved in netball on top of that.”

The 32 teams were supported by volunteer coaches who gave time to help the development of the region’s young netball players.

“This programme has run so smoothly as a result of my team of dedicated, energetic and hardworking coaches,” Turnbull said.

“They are focused on providing netball skills for children to take as they continue to play the game in the future.”