‘Net Mums’: a narrative account of participants’ experiences within a netball intervention

B Walsh, Eleanor Whittaker, C Cronin, A.E Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Back to Netball (B2N) is a coach-led programme established by England Netball, to encourage inactive individuals to re-engage. B2N engages a typically hard to reach group, with 52% of participants being mums. This study aims to understand how a physical activity intervention (i.e. B2N) influences mums’ identity. There is a distinct lack of qualitative studies that include mums’ own voices and how they negotiate being physically active alongside the role expectations associated with being a mum. A qualitative approach was utilised to consider and represent participant’s experiences. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 women who were engaged with the Back to Netball scheme. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the experience of mothers who take part in B2N. Two key themes were identified (1) mum identity as enabler for relatedness and (2) exercise identity as an additional identity. Following the identification of the two key themes, two non-fiction constructs were created which illustrate each theme in the context of a B2N participant’s life. The narratives explore social categorisation and the development of social identity and exercise identity and how it can influence attitudes, beliefs and levels of engagement in other forms of physical activity. Practically, this paper demonstrates how future physical activity interventions can cater for a traditionally hard to reach group, such as mums. To be able to engage mums and facilitate the development of an exercise identity, relatedness should be a focus of a physical activity programme.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
Early online date13 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2018


  • Physical activity
  • netball
  • social identity
  • exercise identity
  • mums


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