Life Ball, Jim Phillips

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Lifeball is a team game similar to netball that can be played by anyone at any stage of life. It is a non-contact, walking game suitable for any age or fitness level. We spoke to Jim Phillips, who plays with Coffs Harbour Silver Shadow, all about the game, the people who play and the benefits of getting active at all stages of life.

Hi Jim. Can you tell us what Lifeball is and where it all started?

Lifeball is a six a side fun team game which incorporates activities such as walking, thinking, and passing and throwing a ball with the aim of scoring a goal through a hoop quite similar to netball. It encourages physical movement, teamwork and a lot of fun. Because Lifeball is a walking game, it allows all team members to be equally involved, and can be adapted for all fitness and mobility levels. It is a non-contact game for people who like to think on their feet, and to score more goals than the opposition. There are special rules to keep the game safe.

Lifeball was invented by Colleen Wilson Lord and her husband, Brian, from Jindera over 12 years ago and has taken off across Australia.

What is the age range of players?

The age range of Coffs Harbour Lifeball players is 50 years to 90 years young, and includes both sexes. It can be played by anyone from any age though.

Is it quite a structured competition or a more casual one?

There is no real competition; just a casual morning game with lots of chats and laughs. We play at Sportz Central, Bray St, Coffs Harbour every Thursday from 9am – 11am, and after the games we all like to finish up with morning tea and a good chat.

What sort of benefits do you see players get out of participating in Lifeball?

Lifeball has many benefits; it is a low impact sport to play at a walking pace, so it’s a good way to stay active and to improve heart and lung health, circulation, mobility and mental stimulation, among other things. It is also suitable for people with diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular problems, and other chronic illnesses. One of the best benefits from Lifeball is friendship; it’s a great opportunity to get out and socialise on a regular basis.

How many Coffs Coast players are taking part in the sport?

Coffs Harbour Silver Shadow has about 30 – 40 players. Across Australia there are about 1,200 people who take part in this low impact sport.

What is some of the feedback you’ve had from players and community members?

A lot of people did not know about Lifeball sports in the Coffs Harbour community, but hopefully we can get a few more people on board as we spread the word. The main feedback we get is how much fun the players have had when playing Lifeball. Many players say it has had a positive impact on their overall health and wellbeing, and that it leaves them feeling confident, alert and energised.

Do you find many players have played netball before, or do you get a lot of people who are new to the sport?

Some people have played netball before and others have not played sport at all, and all are welcome, so we encourage you to come along. It is a very easy game to pick up, so players can learn very quickly, and it is suitable for any ability and fitness level.

What do you think attracts people to the sport?

People seem to  like to do something one day a week in sports. It comes around quickly but is not too huge of a commitment, and because it is low impact and indoors as well, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like – we can still play, so that is another thing they like about it. It’s also a great way to meet people, and especially great if you are new to the area as well.

Do you think people here on the Coffs Coast and Australians in general are becoming more aware of the importance of staying active?

Yes, definitely. People are more aware of the importance of staying active as we grow more senior in our years, for mobility, balance and strength, as well as for your heart, lungs and organs. Staying active is one of the most important things you can do through life, and through Lifeball you also have the benefit of working out your mind as well. We can socialise and have a good laugh while keeping active too.

Are you seeking new members? And where can people contact you?

Yes, we are seeking new members for our Coffs Harbour group.

Please visit http://sportzcentral.com.au for more details.

Thanks Jim.

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