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Nearly half of teenage girls are inactive, figures show. We are in the throws of an obesity crisis. And yet Telegraph journalist Sally Peck seems to think that the answer is to scare girls away from one of the only sports readily available for girls in schools – claiming that netball will make you fat. Peck wants PE modernized – girls want to be able to do “Zumba or yoga-lates” apparently. She also makes the rather audacious claim that most girls hate netball.

This is the most irresponsible headline I have read in a long time.  First of all it is not true but, more importantly, it sends out completely the wrong message. It’s baffling to me that Peck is seeking to undermine the progress of female sport just as progress is beginning to be made. If Peck had done her research, she would know that England Netball were only last month awarded National Governing Body of the Year at the BT Sports Awards, and that netball is in fact the biggest female sport in the country – the Back to Netball scheme has won countless accolades for it’s incredible participation rates as thousands of women flock to the netball courts each week. Most girls hate netball Sally Peck? I think not.

Netball does not make you fat and if you have never seen a high-level game you will realize just how dynamic, exciting and athletic it is. The women who play this sport well are incredible athletes and should be the role models for our school girls.


Peck goes on to say; “Netball is a ridiculous sport – it’s sissy basketball, seemingly designed for dainty flamingos who don’t want to break a nail. It’s absurd that in the 21st century, girls are told that they cannot play football.”

This type of journalism, if you want to call it that, is stuck in the dark ages. Where are the facts, quotes or supporting evidence to back up these sensationalist claims? Peck is writing for effect without any regard for the consequences of her sentiments.

It seems awful to me that Peck would seek to belittle team sports – the benefits team sports can have for children is incredible, and stretches much further than just tackling obesity. Team sports like netball, football, lacrosse etc teach children about unity, teamwork, diplomacy and boost confidence. Employers prefer to employ people with a sporting background for these very reasons.

Peck might want to take note that the problem of obesity in children is a much more complex problem than calories and energy expenditure (and exercise). She glosses over the other issues to come to the completely inaccurate conclusion that “netball is making your children fat”.

It is unfounded, unsubstantiated comments like this that limit the potential of women in sport – everyone is entitled to their opinion, but journalists have a responsibility to get their facts straight. So my advice to any young woman is to find a sport that you enjoy and have fun playing it!



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