I recently had the pleasure of being a part of the WA Netball team support staff as S&C/Medical Assistance. Sadly, despite the incredible time we had and how well the teams did I regrettably saw the same old thing, A lack of basic preparation resulted in an influx of most likely preventable injuries… Within the first couple of days, before we had even started playing we had pre-existing ankle injuries, patellofemoral pain, and tendinopathy. We were forced to manage players' loading & pain throughout the competition. These athletes played up to 2 to 4 games per day, across the 6-day championship.
Halfway through the competition, I had already done 3 hospital trips for an emergency X-Ray to see the damage done to the players. This didn’t stop as the week went on and just re-enforce a basic truth that plagues the sport of a non-contact sport like netball.
If you do not prioritize your Strength & Conditioning Training you are dooming yourself for failure and potentially letting the teammates down. It is imperative to be physically prepared to withstand the demands of your sport. If not you will suffer the consequences. Do you want to deal with being out of the sport for an extended period? Becoming a benchwarmer because of a lack of court time? Probably not. As I saw over the past few days, we had multiple knee & ankle Injuries. Multiple breakdowns from players as they realised the preparation they had done was not enough. They needed more to handle this intense competition.
Plus potentially missing the opportunity to show their full potential to selectors for the World Cup squad 2023 in Brisbane next year.
These, sadly typical, ankle & knee injuries are generally a result of these factors.
Incorrect Landing technique
Poor Lower Limb Strength
Limited to no strength training
Poor warm-up and recovery protocol
There are other factors that contribute to your likelihood of injury but at the end of the day, these 5 factors will dramatically increase your potential exposure to injury and sadly there was plenty of evidence to support this over the week. But why these factors?
85% of netball Injuries occur at the knee & ankle and 45% of injuries occur at landing.
If you look at the sport of netball and its requirements of it you’ll see that you need:
Ability to jump High (Vertical Height)
Pivoting and Single leg landing
High amounts of Change of Direction
Ability to efficiently absorb force from landing
These 5 requirements of the sport are negatively affected by the 5 risk factors talked about above and are not only essential for your sporting performance but also for managing your injury risk. To assist athletes to improve their athletic potential and safeguard them from the risk of injury we need to refine the basic fundamentals and teach athletes how to prepare for the unexpected.
Learning Landing mechanics
Strength training to build resilience and body armour
How to fuel adequately for a game/ training session
For those looking to make serious improvements to their game, I can not stress the importance of these fundamentals enough. It is pivotal to ensuring you have more time on the court and outperform your opposition. Until next time.
Head of Court and Field Programming