Plyometric Exercises for Netball
Netball is a globally popular sport that involves teams of seven players. Played over four quarters, the aim of netball is to score as many goals as possible. Unlike basketball, netball goals do not have a backboard. Netball is played in zones, and players must pass the ball from team member to team member, as dribbling or running with the ball is not allowed. This is a noncontact sport, so brute strength is of little advantage; however, as players normally mark each other using a man-to-man style of play, power is important. Moving quickly and decisively to break away from an opponent is essential for keeping possession of the ball, a skill that can be developed with plyometric exercises.
The ability to jump vertically to block the opposing team's passes or to receive the ball from your own team requires powerful leg muscles. One way to develop your vertical jump height is to perform squat jumps. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by your sides. Push your butt back, bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Swing your arms forward and upward, and leap into the air as high as you can. Land as softly as possible and quickly descend into another repetition. Perform eight to 12 repetitions and then rest. This exercise can be made more challenging by holding dumbbells.
Split Squat Jumps
Many of the plays in netball are carried out from a split stance or lunge position. To develop power in this position, which will also transfer to your running and jumping ability, perform split squat jumps. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Take a large step forward and then steady yourself in this split stance. Bend your legs and lower your rear knee to within an inch of the floor. Jump straight up into the air. Swing your rear leg forward and your front leg back. Land in the split stance with your leg position reversed. Descend into the lunge position and repeat. Continue jumping and alternating legs for the duration of your set. Make this exercise more demanding by holding a medicine ball in your hands.
Lateral Box Jumps
Sometimes, the best way to outmaneuver an opponent is to step quickly to the side. To develop your lateral or sideways movement speed, perform lateral box jumps. Set up an exercise step so that it is mid-shin height and stand to the side of the step. Place your inside foot on the step and bend your inside knee. Drive off your inside foot to propel yourself up and over the step. Land with your opposite foot on top of the step. Drive off your opposite foot to return to your starting position. Continue jumping from one side of the step to the other until you feel that you are beginning to lose height. At this point, stop and rest for a moment before performing another set.
Medicine Ball Chest Throws
The chest pass is one of the most common types of throw in netball. Developing power for this technique will make it harder to intercept your passes and also allow you to pass the ball over greater distances. This exercise is ideally performed with a training partner.
Stand in a staggered stance and hold a medicine ball in both hands. Raise the ball to chest level so that your hands are directly behind the ball and not underneath it. Step forward and push-pass the ball to your training partner. Catch the ball as it is returned to you, absorb the momentum of the ball into your chest and immediately perform another repetition. Step through with your opposite leg and alternate legs rep by rep. The heavier the ball and the greater the distance the ball must be thrown, the more demanding this exercise becomes.
- Plyometrics for Athletes at All Levels: A Training Guide for Explosive Speed and Power; Neal Pire
- Jumping Into Plyometrics; Donald A. Chu
- Functional Training for Athletes at All Levels: Workouts for Agility, Speed and Power; James C. Radcliffe
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.