David has been an online sports writer for over fours years. His articles often focus on sports management and coaching.
Like any other sport, playing netball when being out of shape can lead to serious injuries not to mention poor performance in the game.
It is important for netball players to have a fitness program so as to improve their game and also prevent them from getting avoidable injuries. These very effective netball fitness drills will get your team up to shape and ready for any opponent on the court. A few netball shooting drills are also discussed towards the end of the article.
You will also be fit enough to endure the fast-paced nature of the game and prevent common injuries.
Plyometric Exercises for Netball
Netball is a derivative of basketball and requires the same amount of lower body explosive jumping and power. Plyometric exercises use the weight of the body to build strength and resilience through explosive movements.
There are five basic exercise drills for netball that fall under this category:
- Jump squats: with legs slightly apart, bend your knees and hips so that the thighs are almost at a ninety degrees angle.Hold the position briefly then jump up vertically in a quick and explosive motion. Repeat the drill at least ten times depending on your level of fitness and strength.
- Tuck jumps: spread your legs slightly apart then spring forward and bring both knees towards the chest then land in the same position that you started with. Repeat drill.
- Split jumps: put one leg in front of the other as if you are going to do lunges. Jump upwards and move the legs in a scissor motion then land in the same position that you began with.
- Lateral hops: keep both legs together and jump sideways over obstacles ranging in height from one foot to one and a half feet. Repeat the drill with alternating heights depending on your ability
- Double leg hops: with both legs kept together, jump forward as far as you can and keep going as long as possible.
These plyometric netball exercise drills will build up the stamina of the players and prevent sudden movement accidents.
Stretching Exercise Drills for Netball
In a typical game of netball, you go through a variety of movements such as running, jumping and abrupt turning on the court. You want to make sure that you maintain flexibility, prevent injury, improve performance and increase mobility.
There are four important muscle groups that must be stretched before and after a game of netball.
- Calf stretch: stand two feet away from a wall. Place both hands against the wall and step one foot back making sure that both toes are facing forward, then press the heel down into the floor. Stretching the calf is very important because you are doing a lot of jumping and running in netball.
- Hamstring stretch: from a standing position, face the heel forward and then sit forward into the hamstring stretch, keeping your back straight and arms on your waist. You should feel a stretch on the back of the leg.
- Hip flexor stretch: put one foot forward as you would do for a lunge. Drop down onto your knee, lift one arm and rotate your head inward slightly. You should feel some strain on the hip-flexor area—an indication that the exercise is effective
- Upper body stretch: while standing straight, put both arms forward. In that position, criss-cross the arms (taking them over and under) then put one hand behind the head and the other hand behind the back. Push back with your elbow so that you are stretching the back muscles.
Stationery Shooting Drill
This is a one-person drill that helps in improving the accuracy of the shot at the ring. You start the drill by positioning yourself close to the post and keeping your legs close together in a comfortable position.
Hold up the ball above your head using your prominent hand with fingers facing backwards. The other hand rests on the side of the ball to hold it in place and give it stability.
Bend the elbows ever so slightly facing the post, set your sights at a point slightly above the net, stretch hands and release the ball through the ring. Ensure that your fingers do not touch the ring.
As you get better at the shots, you will progressively add the level of difficulty by increasing the distance. You will also try shots from the side, moving forward and moving backward. At a later stage when you have become proficient you can add more defenders to increase difficulty.
Watch the video below to get a good idea of how the stationary shooting drill is performed.
Cut Back Shooting Drill
To practice this netball move, you will need three players—a feeder, shooter and defender. For the cutback to be effective, there are a number of conditions that have to be met.
The shooter will proactively move towards the feeder then abruptly changes direction to confuse the defender. The feeder will pass the ball at a position in the direction of the shooter who will receive it and make an attempt at the post.
As seen in the video below, you should aim at practicing quick turns and always use both the left and right turns until you gain accuracy with both.
Front Step Netball Shooting Drills
This shooting drill aims at teaching players to advance as close to the post as possible so as to score consistently. Achieving this is made possible if players practice the technique and are able to balance on one foot as they make shots at the net.
The drill just requires just one player, ball and post. To perform it properly, the player stands as close as possible to the post and moves forward with one foot. She then raises the other foot and uses the correct shooting technique to aim at goal.
Change the configuration of the drill to include a defender so as to add some variety and complexity to the mix.
Team Conditioning Drills for Netball Players
Netball is a game that requires players to be in shape not only mentally but physically as well. These netball team conditioning drills ensure that players stay fit for the game on and offseason.
Being in shape for netball is more than just physical fitness. It entails being in the right frame of mind to play a game of netball and win. It involves every player in the team who must be in shape to play the game satisfactorily.
By staying in shape even during the offseason period, a team can easily be called upon to perform on short notice. This is because they have practiced the specific netball skills and exercises that are necessary to make the right moves in the game.
Conditioning netball players in this way involves practicing the prerequisite netball skills such as shooting and passing when they are in a state of physical exhaustion.
Sprint and Throw Drill
This netball drill conditions the players to learn how to shoot the ball when they are under extreme pressure of the game as well as when they are tired.
- Set the time duration for the drill and have the players run the full width of the court 20 times. Most young players are able to perform the exercise in less than 80 seconds on average
- Players then attempt two shots at goal after the run and the coach records the results for each player
- The team will rest for two-minutes and then run the width of the netball court ten times. Again, the players will each take two shots and the results recorded.
- Rest the time for a minute and then have them run the netball court width five times.
Tally the results and based on the overall performance of the team, add or reduce the number of times they have to run the width of the netball court. For example, set the score at 80% and if the team is able to achieve this, they will not have to run anymore. Should they fail, they will be added more runs.
Court Agility Drill
This netball conditioning exercise enhances the speed, agility and acceleration of the players.
- Start on one side of the netball court
- Run to the right corner of the court, move sideways to the left corner, move backwards to side of the court you started from then sideways to the right.
- Repeat the exercise in the opposite direction
When done correctly, this drill improves the overall agility and handling of the ball especially when tired. It involves sprint dribbling to all corners of the netball court in a back-forth and sideways pattern. For example, players sprint dribble from mid-court to the baseline and back then change direction.
Dribble Jump-shot Drill
Like the previous drill, the dribble jump-shot improves the handling of the ball and scoring when the players are exhausted. You start at one end of the court. You then dribble the ball to the other end of the court and shoot. Move to the opposite direction and shoot as fast as possible. Repeat the process five times—the aim is to improve the accuracy of the shots at every turn.
© 2014 David Gitachu