Fitness training for Netball

 

 

No one can contest that if you want to win netball matches you need to be fit. However, the word ‘fit’ is a specific entity so we have to more precise in what we mean by being fit to play netball.

 

With us your program will be specific to help you become a better player. In other words, exercises used in the gym or field will impact on your performance which is a refreshing change from many programs. We don’t do exercise fads… we are too experienced and too knowledgeable to fall for their constant false promises. Our programs involve the good old things that work time after time: safe and effective progressions, individualisation of a program, specific needs addressed, long- and short-term aims, well-planned and structured training that is varied, nutritional advice, and of course factoring in adequate and quality rest.

 

The demands of the modern game are intense, in order to compete at the top level elite level netballers score well in a range of physical tests. 

 

To be specific about what we mean when we say specific we have to clearly define the demands of the game so we can design a high-quality exercise and nutrition program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endurance (and speed-endurance)

 

Analysis of the game can give a very good indication of the physiological requirements of the sport. Netball is heavily intermittent meaning it involves numerous physical events expressing: maximal exertion short distance speed, agility, explosive power, and jumping abilities.

 

What does research tell us?... Maximal effort sprints will generally be 5 – 30 meters. Sprints are not always from a standing start, play is interspersed with high- (e.g. running), medium- (e.g. jogging), and low-intensity (e.g. standing and walking) activity… a change of activity happens on average every 4 seconds for the entire 60 minutes of the game in elite netball (yes about 900 events per game) .

 

Centre players cover a total distance of around 8 km (5 miles) in 60 minutes of play, which is comparable to the intensity that premier league footballers play at. This distance covered isn’t steady running so the inefficient nature of the numerous maximal effort sprints and other high-intensity activity adds up giving netball its high demand on the aerobic system (cardiovascular and muscular endurance).

 

You must be ready to work for the team… it is no good just being fast once; players must be able to do this repeatedly throughout the match.

 

To last out the full 60 minutes requires a specific type of endurance that can be enhanced with a specific type of aerobic training (not always boring running laps).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speed (and agility)

 

The benchmark time for a 10 meter sprint for elite girls is around 1.9 seconds, which is fast as the average girl is normally around 2.3 – 2.6 seconds. This might not mean much to you right now but compare this with Usain Bolt’s time over the same distance in the 2008 Olympic games final… he covered the first 10 meters of the race in 1.85 seconds. So we are talking about some fast athletes playing the game. This is where speed gives you the edge.

 

Lucky for us with the correct training program speed (or more specifically acceleration) is trainable. We also teach players how to move… this helps with movement efficiency, movement speed, and reduces the chances of getting injured (injuries that happen when limbs are out of line when moving quickly).

 

Speed in netball is not always expressed in straight lines; the game involves innumerable changes in direction and pace (deceleration – acceleration) which is normally referred to as agility. We know that in order to compete at a high level you must be very agile (seen in 10 meter shuttle run test results). This too can be enhanced with training.

 

You don’t have to look too far to see examples where developing your speed and agility can make you a good living in superleague and international netball.

 

 

 

 

 

Strength (and Power)

 

There are many areas of the game where strength plays a vital role. This might be holding off opponents during competing for a space to jump, holding position when the ball is played into your hands, or even staying strong shoulder to shoulder while running. To play at the top level you need to be strong, so strength training helps… by the term strength training we mean strength that can be transferred from the gym to the netball court (so not your typical gym exercises).

 

Strength and power training is often frowned upon (especially for young athletes), but with the right program and coach it can be both safe and effective. We start with the basics and gradually progress toward elite training when you are ready.

 

We tackle issues like making exercises in the gym relate to improved netball performances… in other words specific, how much intensity or weight to use, how much volume to do, and how often to do it. All these factor result in effective and safe training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Injuries

 

Injuries are rife in netball. In fact netball ranks as having one of the highest injury rates of any sport (many studies prove this by measuring injury rates per 1000 hours of play and comparing different sports).

 

Most injuries occur when we do not have sufficient strength to overcome impact, or we are fatigued. As such many injuries can be avoided… it is actually a very simple concept: stronger muscles and joints that are better conditioned are less likely to suffer injury due to insufficient strength or due to fatigue.

 

Large parts of our training programs will act to reduce the likelihood of getting injured while playing netball. Or after a physio has helped you become pain free we help players return to full fitness and avoid re-injuring themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition

 

Nutritional demands are massively individual and dependant on what your priorities are. Nutritional requirements will differ relative to if you need to lose or gain weight, deal with differing climates (hot / cold / humidity), last a whole game without lacking energy, gain strength, improve specific endurance, and so on. The way we mould a nutritional plan around your needs is with the use of sound scientific nutritional principles:

 

Ø  Energy balances (amount of energy ingested and expelled);

Ø  Macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats) – their portion sizes and ensuring quality sources of nutrients are used;

Ø  Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals);

Ø  And of course making well-informed decisions about the multi-million dollar industry that is supplements – along with education about anti-doping for those who aspire for elite level.

 

In the same way we don’t advocate fad ‘off the shelf’ or ‘off the internet’ exercise programs you won’t find us advocating fad diets. Fads are normally well marketed money making ideas that claim to radicalise the way we exercise or eat. Why do fads tend to spring up then die out? Because most of the time they do not work, they fail to cover the most basic factors (energy balances, macronutrients, micronutrients, individualisation, and specific needs).

 

The way our bodies respond to exercise and nutritional stimuli has not changed in hundreds of years – the only change is in the way coaches understand these phenomenon and deliver them within a session, which has benefited from sound scientific based principles and study. So if you understand the way the body responds to exercise and nutritional inputs well enough then you can appear to do miracles just by doing the right things, at the right time, in the right amounts (simple?... If you know what you are doing).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

If you hadn’t already guessed our training is based on scientific fact (not uninformed opinions or misguided hearsay), so as you can see our netball training programs are based specifically on not just dealing with the demands of netball but excelling.

 

To book training sessions simply contact us using the details provided on our website. Training sessions are available for young players (long-term safe and effective development) and adults (recreational or high-performance players).

 

 

We look forward to hearing from you soon,

 

HPathletes.com (Martin Gallyer and Ronald Rogers)