Netball Bib

Why web design is just like netball

Dear 25 year old me,

I think back to you at the dear age of 25 and remember that you’re only just starting to play netball. Spoiler alert: you get obsessed with this sport, but for very good reasons!

Funny story – it turns out that your two favourite things in the world, web design and netball, have a lot in common.

It all starts with teamwork.

Imagine the team line up:

Coach – Account Manager / Product Manager
Captain – Project Manager / Strategist
Attackers (GS/GA/WA) – Creative planning, design & testing team
Centre Court (C/WA/WD) – Digital strategy, UX & content team
Defenders (GK/GD/WD) – Front & backend development team

It’s a pretty slick looking team there, right? A bit of overlap in skills too. Here’s my theory on the team dynamics and the importance of teamwork.

1. Everyone has an important role to perform

In netball, we go through trials to find the most highly skilled players and what teams they’ll be the best fit for. This is pretty much the same objective for the recruitment process to put together a web design team.

Finding the most skilled professionals for the job sets you up for the win early on.

2. A champion team beats a team of champions

You’ve found the best players in the world, but that’s actually not going to guarantee you the championship. A cohesive and well-polished team that knows how to work together will always defeat a team of glory hunters.

That’s because the team that works for each other will do everything in their power to not let their teammates down. No one’s trying to be a cowboy because they’re all working towards a common goal and collectively understand the bigger picture.

It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” – John Wooden.

3. Defense wins games

To most spectators, the attackers (designers) are always doing the fancy and impressive things, getting the scores on the board.

It’s not an easy task in itself and requires plenty of skills, but all the opportunities to score more, thus resulting in winning the game, come from turnovers that the defenders (developers) get.

While your attackers are doing all that they can to score from your team’s centre pass, if the opponent’s attacking side are doing the same quality job, then the score will remain at breakeven. Your awesome defenders will provide your attackers with precious opportunities to score even more goals for the team.

All roles are vital in a netball team; let’s not forget about the steady and extremely important centre-courters who help connect everything together. Without all teammates playing their part, a win is so much harder to obtain.

4. Communication saves the day

Understanding your teammates; including their styles, strengths and weaknesses, then communicating as effectively as possible to each other seems to be a self-explanatory component. There’s a lot more to consider beyond the surface, however.

For example, different players respond to different kinds of feedback. Some are more receptive to blunt direction from the coach while others require more gentle persuasion as to not disrupt their confidence.

Within the team dynamics, great communication can also make the difference between a great pass and an ordinary pass. Something as simple as knowing whether your teammates are left handed or right handed and then placing a pass to their preferred side can dramatically make a difference.

The same concept goes for your web team – finding out more about what your fellow teammates need and respond best to can naturally result in more effective outcomes.

5. Know when to leave it on the court

White line fever can sometimes get the best of us, but at the end of the day it’s only a game. Winning is great, but not at the cost of bad sportsmanship or burning bridges.

Even if you’re incredibly and indescribably annoyed, just remember, you can choose to be the better person out there.

The people that you’re playing (working) alongside and against are people who deserve respect – just as you do. While you may sometimes disagree, be sure to always shake their hand at the end of the game.

Who knows. One day, you might need to be on the same team together.

Know when to leave the battle and never, ever, burn those bridges.

6. Losing makes you stronger

Coming from one of the most competitive people in the world, I say it’s definitely okay to lose… sometimes. In the rare times that you do, make sure that the right lessons are learned. Assess what factors resulted in the outcome.

Was it the combination out there on the court? The timing? The fitness? The skills? What were the mistakes made? Did everyone adapt to the situation fast enough? How can these be worked on to avoid in future?

Don’t let the opportunity pass for it to not be a learning experience.

7. Always celebrate the wins

No exceptions! Pat yourselves on the back, enjoy the moment and make sure all victories are celebrated. Reward yourself and each other for the hard work and effort that was put into getting that win. Enjoy it.

There’s always another game around the corner but focus on that later – a challenge was overcome and it deserves a celebration.

Last but not least, have fun! You love it, never lose that lovin’ feeling :)



Patima x