Finally, sports are back (unless you are from Victoria) and we are all keen to get back into it! But are we ready? Yes, we had a pre-season… However, due to the pandemic we have been on isolation mode which means it is very likely you have stopped training, you’ve stopped being active and have been quite happy in couch mode, doing not much at all but keeping your distance from the TV. This is an issue. Unfortunately, the risk of injury has significantly increased across all sports due to this very reason, we are not physically ready to perform!
Netball is typically known for knee injuries, closely followed by ankle injuries. Today, I’ll be informing you about the knee and what we can do to prevent those horrid ACL tears.
Netball is the number 1 sport for females in Australia, females are at a greater risk to ACL injuries due to genetics however more so due to the nature of the sport sudden stopping, quick change of direction and repetitive landing. With these factors already, plus the post-covid19 deconditioning, it is a recipe for disaster!
You may be thinking, what specific movements in netball are risky?
Thanks to Netball Australia, they have identified the most common mechanism’s which usually result in that ‘pop’ sound from your knee!
1. Landing after contesting the ball
2. Trunk rotation on landing
3. Change of direction
What can you do?
Do your warm up! It is very important to warm up before training and games to increase blood flow and oxygen to prepare muscles for physical activity and decrease the risk of injury.
Prevention is key! Dust off your joggers and practice these few exercises.
There are lots of exercises to do, the ones listed below are specific to netball and the mechanisms mentioned earlier.
Grab a partner, for this exercise one person needs to jump as high as they can as if they were reaching to catch a ball, your partner needs to push you whilst in the air, land double leg to start and to progress this exercise try landing on a single leg.
180-degree Jump Rotations
Start standing facing away from your partner, jump and turn 180 degrees to face your partner land with both feet, your partner will ensure that you are using the correct landing and jumping technique, your partner needs to look out for the hips and shoulders moving as one and not twisting through the core as this is highlighted as a common mechanism for knee injuries. This can be progressed by adding a ball in.
Sprint forwards to a marker, once at the marker run as fast as you can towards the side indicated by your partner, run to the next marker then quickly change direction and return to first marker. This can also be progressed by adding a ball in.
The above exercises are great if you have been playing netball for a long time have experience with the sport, if you are new to the sport and considering joining a team or getting your kids involved. Make sure you seek advice from a physiotherapist to identify your weaknesses and have an individualised strengthening program aiming to reduce the chances of sustaining a knee injury.