Head1: Team skills linked

Body1: SYDNEY - Women who play netball feel better prepared for leadership roles in the outside world than those who do not play team sports, according to an Australian study.

University of New South Wales research also showed netballers were happier working in a group, more successful in setting goals and three times less likely to be unhappy about their appearance.

The research was described as the first comparative study in Australia of players in team sports and non-team sports.

It was conducted by the university's sports medicine department for cereal maker Kellogg's, and involved 450 women aged 18 to 39.

As in New Zealand, netball is the largest organised female team sport in Australia, with 1.3 million players.

Consulting psychologist Fred Orr, a member of the research team, said that one of the questions the study answered was why many women continued to play netball.

"The most important finding is that a lot of the skills learned in netball are transferred to work," he said.

Orr said this included leadership potential, the ability to co-ordinate resources, and feeling comfortable in challenging social situations.

Previous research had shown that the rules and strategies for success in a competitive society were often learned on sports grounds.