Get ready for netball season

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Netball season is just underway and we have already started seeing ankle sprains in clinic. Ankles and knees are the most common netball injuries we attend to, followed by calf strains, hamstring tears and back injuries.

Research tells us that a solid warm-up will reduce a team’s injury occurrences by up to 50 percent. ACC has used the world’s best injury prevention research to develop a New Zealand specific routine that all teams should be using.

In this column, I will outline the programme and its components; but most importantly you can visit the ACC website to view videos and download a manual on how to incorporate this warm-up into your team.

The final tip I want to share with you this month is a great balance exercise I use for all my ankle and knee injuries to return them to sport a little quicker.  If you have weak ankles this is a great exercise for you.

You can go directly to the Sports Smart site on ACC (www.accsportsmart.co.nz/warmup). On this page you will find video of each exercise, plus some great resources on how to use it and when. Basically the full warm-up takes 20 minutes and should be done before each training. On game day you only perform the running exercises and this takes about 10 minutes.

There are three parts to the warm-up; running, strength and balance, and running agility.  Each exercise is designed to build upon the other so follow the programme in order.  Each run is roughly 30 metres.  You will need six pairs of cones as well.

For detailed instructions download and print the Acc SportSmart guide for your warm-up.  (www.bit.ly/1TcLxt7)

Section 1: Running
–  Straight ahead running/jogging down and back quicker back
–  Hip out, jog to first cone, stop lift knee and rotate hip out, repeat other knee at next cone.
–  Hip in, jog to first cone, stop lift knee to the side and rotate knee forward, repeat at next cone.
–  Circling partner, this is a great shuffling exercise and good practice at not running into the other player
–  Shoulder contact, this is good fun just make sure you don’t smash the other player!
–  Quick forwards and backwards, sprint to second cone then run backwards to first repeat to third then back to second.

Section 2: Strength, plyometrics and balance
–  Plank or bench holds, hold for 30 seconds make sure and keep the back flat.
–  Sideways plank or bench, hold for 30 seconds keep a straight line from ankle, knee to shoulder.
–  Hamstrings, this is the best exercise ever to prevent hamstring strain. Start 3-5 reps and build to 15 reps.
–  Single leg stance throwing the ball to your partner for 30 seconds without touching down.
–  Squats to lunge to single leg squat, great progression to building good leg strength.
–  Vertical jumps to lateral jumps to box jumps, 30 sec each and progressively get higher.

Section 3: Agility
–  Across the pitch at 80 percent effort
–  Bounding 6-8 high steps each direction
–  Plant and cut, take 4-5 steps at 90 percent speed and cut quickly to right repeat to left do this length of court and jog back.

If you have ever sprained your ankle or twisted your knee or know that you need to work specifically on your balance, this little two minute exercise will really help.

To make it harder, do it barefoot on grass and for the ultimate challenge do it barefoot on the beach with water taking the sand away from your foot.

For a step-by-step guide you can follow along on our YouTube page at these links:
www.bit.ly/1Sr0mvL
www.bit.ly/1pDEwcW

BALANCE EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS

All movements:
–      Should be slow and controlled. (Count to 10 as you perform each movement)
–      Start with a small range of movement and increase as your balance allows you.
–      Repeat each movement at least three times.

For balance exercises 1–4:
–      Start position: Stand feet hip width apart with your arms hanging comfortably by your side.
–      Aim to keep your hip, knee and ankle aligned and the raised knee at a 90 degree position.
–      Look straight ahead.
–      Repeat on left and ride side for each movement.

exercise1

1) Balance – Two arms – overhead
Movement:  Balance on one leg. Raise both arms slowly overhead then lower back to start position. Avoid shrugging or arching your back.

2) Balance – One arm – overhead
Movement:  Balance on one leg.  Raise one arm slowly overhead then lower back to start position.  Avoid shrugging or arching your back.  Alternate arms but keep standing leg the same whilst you work through set.

3) Balance – Two arms – side
Movement:  Balance on one leg.  Raise both arms in front of your chest to shoulder height.  Open your arms out to the side keeping them at shoulder height.  Allow your shoulder blades to move into the centre of your back.  Avoid shrugging or arching your back.

4) Balance – One arm – side
Movement:  Balance on one leg. Raise both arms in front to shoulder height. Keeping one arm still while opening the other out to the side and keeping both at shoulder height.  Allow the shoulder blade on your moving arm to move into the centre of your back. Avoid shrugging or arching your back. Alternate arms but keep standing leg the same whilst you work through set.

exercise25) T – balance
Start position:  Stand feet hip width apart with your arms hanging comfortably by your side.
Movement:  With a slight knee bend in your standing leg, hinge at the hip to move forward into as close a ‘T’ shape as you can.  Aim to keep a neutral spine (try not to round shoulders).  Hips should stay square to the ground.  Hands directly below shoulders with palms facing in.  Look down.

Once you have mastered the ‘T – Balance’ try the following:

6) T – balance – arm movements
Two arms overhead.
One arm overhead.
Two arms side.
One arm side.

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