It is a netball players greatest fear, not because of the pain from the injury, but due to the long period that is needed off the court to recover. A netball injury is very common, with the rate of injury for netball players being 14 for every 1,000 hours played, according to Australian Sport Commission. Read on to find out tips for injury prevention whilst playing Netball!
The most common are sprained ankles, patellar tendinitis (jumpers knee), and fractured fingers, with all not typically caused from contact by another player, just our own awkward landings or trips on the court. Worrying about potentially getting injured isn’t the best method to avoid this, the best thing to do is making sure you are doing valuable warm up exercises regularly, especially before a match. The worse thing any player can do is go on court without doing a warm up beforehand as you haven’t given your joints the chance to loosen up. Below are three examples you can do alone or as a team to help prevent injuries.
- Reverse Jump Squats – The name says it all, instead of jumping forwards you’re jumping backwards. This is a very effective way of achieving excellent balance when landing during a netball game. To do this exercise, keep your shoulders back and heels on the ground, lower into a deep squat. From the squat, jump backwards and land back in a deep squat. Flattering, no. Effective, yes. Do this down the court, once you reach the end, jog back and repeat.
- Single Leg Jumps – This is a great balance exercise to improve the proprioception and the balance ability of the leg. Also a perfect exercise for those who get called for regular footwork! To do this exercise, standing up straight, jump forward but land on either the right or left leg and hold for three seconds. Place both feet back on the ground, repeating the same technique but landing on the opposite leg. Once you reach the end of the court, jog back and start again.
- Single Leg Ball Balance – This exercise involves getting into pairs. Standing straight on one leg, pass the ball to your partner with the arm opposite to the leg you’re standing on. Your partner will then do the same back. This exercise is used to strengthen and stabilise your ankle and knee joints, as well as overall balance. To make it more interesting, test your partner by throwing high, low or bounce passes, whoever loses balance first is out. If you don’t have a partner you can do this by throwing the ball against a wall.
There is no guarantee these exercises will stop you entirely from getting injured, as injuries are unpredictable and can happen at any moment during play, but these exercises are brilliant in strengthening your muscles and joints, as well as giving you perfect balance on court, so falling or tripping won’t be an ongoing problem.