The 3 Best Stretches for Netball
Improve your netball and minimize injuries with 3 of the best netball stretches.
by Brad Walker | First Published October 12, 2008 | Updated April 4, 2019
The first world game of Netball was played in 1963, and Australia and New Zealand dominated the victories for years.
Netball was accepted as an Olympic sport in 1995 and has been a part of the Commonwealth Games since 1995. In 2008, netball gained a semi-professional status with the introduction of the ANZ Championships.
Muscles used in Netball
Netball requires strong legs and the ability to move quickly. Agility and quickness are important aspects in netball. Due to the nature of the game, with lots of starts and stops and forceful contractions, flexibility and strength are essential.
The shooting and passing skills require good upper body strength. Movement within the zones requires quick movement and strong legs. When defending another player the ability to stop and change directions quickly requires good balance and coordination.
The major muscles used in netball include:
- The muscles in the legs; the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in the calves (especially when jumping), the gastrocnemius and soleus.
- The muscles of the hips; the adductors, abductors, and gluteals.
- The muscles of the shoulders and arms; the deltoids, biceps, triceps, and the forearm muscles.
- The core muscles are needed for balance; the rectus abdominus, obliques, and spinal erectors.
Most Common Netball Injuries
Netball, while a non-contact game, does involve some jostling and bumping. Players who are moving in a small space risk stepping on each other and due to the shifting and quick turning in the game knees and ankles are often subject to twisting motions.
Some of the more common injuries that affect netball players include:
- Ankle sprains;
- Achilles tendinitis;
- Shin splints;
- Patellar tendinitis (Jumper’s Knee);
- Knee sprains, including Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) sprain and Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprain;
- Muscle strains; and
- Finger sprains, dislocations and jams.
Injury Prevention Strategies
Conditioning is important for the netball player to prevent injuries.
- Always warm-up properly prior to training and especially competition.
- Allow an adequate cool-down period and perform after training/competition stretching.
- Cardiovascular training is important to prevent the muscles from tiring during a game and allowing breakdown of proper form.
- Strengthening the muscles that support the knee and ankle joints will help prevent some of the common sprains.
- Increasing flexibility in the muscles and joints will reduce the stress on these areas during training.
- Practicing balance, agility and proprioception drills to improve knee and ankle stability.
- Learning proper technique and form for each position a player might play will ensure that they play at their optimum level and help prevent injury.
- Being aware of where other players are in a player’s zone will prevent the rolling of ankles due to stepping on another player.
The 3 Best Netball Stretches
Netball stretches are one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective.
Below are 3 of the best stretches for netball; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions with each stretch, and if you currently have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain please take extra care when performing the stretches below, or consult with your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the following stretches.
Instructions: Slowly move into the stretch position until you feel a tension of about 7 out of 10. If you feel pain or discomfort you’ve pushed the stretch too far; back out of the stretch immediately. Hold the stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds while relaxing and breathing deeply. Come out of the stretch carefully and perform the stretch on the opposite side if necessary. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
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Research and References
- Walker, B. (2011). The Anatomy of Stretching, 2nd Edition (ISBN: 978-1583943717)
- Wikipedia contributors. (2019, April 22). Netball, In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
- Attenborough, A. Sinclair, P. Sharp, T. Greene, A. Stuelcken, M. Smith, R. Hiller, C. (2017). The identification of risk factors for ankle sprains sustained during netball participation. Physical Therapy in Sport, 23, 31-36.
- Elphinston, J. Hardman, S. (2006). Effect of an integrated functional stability program on injury rates in an international netball squad. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 9(1-2), 169-176.
- McManus, A. Stevenson, M. Finch, C. (2006). Incidence and risk factors for injury in non-elite netball. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 9(1-2), 119-124.
- Kokkonen, J. Nelson, A. Eldredge, C. Winchester, J. (2007) Chronic Static Stretching Improves Exercise Performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 39(10), 1825-1831.
- Shellock, F, Prentice, W. (1985) Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries. Sports Medicine, 2(4):267-78.
- Fradkin, A. Zazryn, T. Smoliga, J. (2010) Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(1):140-8.
About the Author: Brad Walker is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon (author page) has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 1,000's of verified customer reviews. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.
Disclaimer: The health and fitness information presented on this website is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the exercises described on this website, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain.