Welcome to Aspire Netball  – Elite Performance Programme

Our elite performance programme is intrinsically focussed on the development of an all round netball athlete.  We have put together a programme that will develop your netball skills, test your fitness and improve your strength & conditioning to allow you to play your best netball.

Lead coaches are experienced with national netball teams in GB, England and Ireland.   In addition our athletes will have access to centres of excellence at a regional university and on-site specialised coaching.  Match-play is every athletes favourite part of any development programme and we will be travelling to matches competing with players within other elite programmes.

Aspire – Vision & Mission Statement



At this level, the Aspire coaches encourage our athletes to begin developing the mindset needed to be successful in an elite netball performance programme. Our Foundation athletes are introduced to health and wellbeing advice along with strength and conditioning because at Aspire we firmly believe in enabling our athletes to learn how to move correctly and safely to prevent injury and illness.

In addition to learning more specific performance netball skills our athletes will be encouraged to be “fearless” on court by applying their new skills in a safe environment, confident that they have the full support and recognition of their team.   Our Foundation programme is aimed at those with a good basic netball knowledge and are ready for higher performance development.  We keep track of the performance of our Little Stars athletes as they develop and push for a place at the Foundation level.


High performance athletes operating at this level are encouraged to take more responsibility for their own development on and off the court through their Individual Development Plan (IDP).   In addition to learning advanced netball skills, our Advanced athletes will have access to specific positional training alongside learning skills and matchplay tactics to help them succeed at this level.  

The theme of health and well being is developed further through specialist nutritional advice and sports psychology sessions for our Advanced performance athletes.  In addition to developing individual excellence, our Aspire coaches will continue to focus on our core values of encouraging teamwork, recognising and supporting each others efforts and being “fearless” on court.  Our Advanced programme is aimed at athletes who have experienced higher level coaching and are performing already to an above average level in training and match play, plus our coaches will be identifying the emerging talent from our Foundation programme.


All the Aspire programmes are based on leading edge research into sporting excellence and coaching.  At the Aspire Elite level we really get into the science of being a high performance athlete with the introduction of performance analysis, advanced problem solving, dealing with setbacks as a team along with lifestyle advice for our Elite athletes to help balance the demands of school with being a performance athlete.  Our Elite training incorporates matchplay tactical skills, unit work, positional work and advanced netball skills.

Athletes at this level demonstrate the necessary netball prowess combined with the personal attributes to be successful in a high performance netball programme.  Our Elite programme is aimed at athletes who excel in their netball skills and already show elite level potential for onwards development.  Our coaches will be looking to spot aspiring talent within the Advanced level of the programme too.

Coaches & Staff

Vanessa McErlain-Naylor is excited to be the Head Coach for the Aspire Elite programme.  A widely recognised coach in our region her years developing athletes within her own club, working within county and regional programmes has inspired her to create this fantastic opportunity.  Vanessa has been recognised nationally and regionally with awards and accolades for her successes.  Vanessa has experience coaching & assisting teams with Maccabi GB, NPL, regional, northern and county leagues.  Vanessa is Head coach for the Swiss Netball team to be represented and Netball Europe and will continue to work with the Swiss team throughout this year, and in 2022 was instrumental in them gaining their world ranking in the 2021/22 season.

Alex Young  previously with Manchester Thunder as performance coach.  Alex brings years of experience with her from playing days with Yorkshire Jets and Loughborough lightning, as well as England u17, u19 and u21s.  Alex’s coaching background includes Head coach of England Nets when England won Gold and England u17s when they won Gold at Netball Europe. In addition Alex’s wealth of experience working in the England Pathway with players in the regional programme from u13 up to and including u19s (NPL).

We are very proud to have Joan Young delivering  specialist positional sessions throughout the season.  Joan was previously head coach for Ireland and has a vast experience of working with players within a performance environment through to  international events.

International basketball coach Kendel Glapion will be leading selected sessions as a guest coach.  Kendel is an NCAA college basketball player and member of the 2016 USA select international team.  Currently delivering basketballl skills and development coaching internationally and also the creator of Phenom lifestyle clothing brand.

Assistant coaches at aspire

Emma Lewis is a UKCC level 2 coach and has coached at one of the top regional junior clubs.  Emma coaches a squad in the senior regional league and is still a regular on court herself.

Mark McErlain-Naylor is an experienced UKCC level 2 coach and B award umpire with 15+ years experience at one of the top regional junior clubs.  Mark has successfully coached teams through to U14 and U16 national clubs finals.  Mark has coached in the county performance pathway at U13 through to U17 level.

Lisa Smith is an experienced UKCC level 2 coach.  Lisa has experience coaching in primary schools and club level from Hi5 to Seniors. Lisa has been assistant county performance coach for the U11, U15 and U17 age groups in addition to managing county teams at inter-county tournaments.  Lisa is currently Head coach for the Antigua and Barbuda national squad ahead of their World Cup Americas competition in October 2022.

Rachel Henderson is an experienced UKCC level 2 coach and coach tutor who teaches sport science at one of Lincolnshire’s top 6th form college’s.  Rachel has coached and selected for the county pathway and brings a wealth of netball experience with her.

Georgia Walmsley is a UKCC level 1 coach assistant and joined us in 2021 as a coach and C award umpire.  Georgia is has been an athlete in the programme herself since u 14 and continues to represent Aspire on court with our u19 players.

Management Staff at aspire

Administration – we are currently looking to appoint a volunteer to this role and anyone interested can contact Vanessa or Lisa directly.

SafeguardingRachel Henderson is always available for parents or athletes to discuss issues,  you can arrange a meeting via email direct to Rachel in strictest confidence.  Rachel.henderson.2003@gmail.com

Covid Officer – Wendy Walmsley is an appointed First aider and as a trained health professional she will also be a leading role as Covid Officer for the programme from Sept 2020.

Lisa Smith – aspirenetball@gmail.com

Performance Partners & Sponsors

We are pleased to announce we will be working with some fantastic partners providing coaching endorsements, resources and facilities.

We continue to work hard on developing partnerships in all aspects of sport and bringing the very best coaches and elite athletes into specialist sessions with our Aspire athletes.  

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Studies Centre has chosen Aspire Elite Netball to participate in an exciting and innovative new research initiative.

The educational programme is aimed at high performing 14-18 year old athletes, their coaches and parents and will be delivered through workshops, video and websites. The programme explores motivation, ethical decision making, developing fair play morals and building confidence.

This is a fantastic opportunity which will equip our athletes with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the complex world of performance sport and is a great add on to our quality netball programme” –  Aspire Head Coach Vanessa Mcerlain Naylor

The Aspire programme is supported byYSN – Youth Sport Nutrition.   Who serve parents, sporting academies, coaches and active youths, by providing a place to learn about, and implement a sports nutrition strategy.  Their aim is to support health, growth, normal development and sporting performance for our next generation.  Their continued objective is to educate and raise awareness for parents, individuals and coaches around correct nutrition for youth athletes, ensuring they are supporting the demands of competing at elite level whilst encouraging increased participation, longevity and success in sport.  Athletes are entitled to online discount with YSN contact your coach for more details.

In addition we have some AMAZING sponsors who very kindly donate funds through the year which provide funding for netball events, tours, equipment and a hardship funding so we can sponsor talented athletes who may be in less well funded circumstances.  We can’t ever thank them enough for supporting us and you can read more about some of them on the links below:

Kingswood Residential
Brandon Investment Capital
Choice Business Finance           
Collins Wealth Management