Happy Sunday Coaches and Happy 10th of the month! This month we begin to address the importance of integrating injury prevention into your coaching sessions. In May 2015 England Netball conducted research on attrition rates in the sport. From the research it was found that injury was the leading cause of dropout.
This month’s Top 10 includes some links to key pieces of information on the issue along with advice and tips on how to begin to support your athletes.
1) Our Friends at Netball Australia have published a fantastic resource; ‘The KNEE Program‘ to support coaches in providing their players with an exercise program that helps to decrease the likelihood of knee injuries. Make sure you have a read!
2) “The majority of injuries in netballers occur on landing or changing direction, most often leading to injuries of the knee and ankle. 70% of ACL injuries are of a non-contact nature, meaning they are without the contact of another player.”
3) In The KNEE Program, you can also find videos in the Junior, Recreational, or Elite sections. Watch the demonstrations and ensure you are familiar with correct technique in each exercise before directing your athletes to perform them.
4) Have a look at some articles on strength and conditioning previously published in the England Netball magazine; these have been recorded in the Sport Science – Strength and Conditioning section of the England Netball website.
5) There are a number of different exercises and progressions and it is important to ensure you do not overload your netballers with advanced exercises. If you have a large group and are not able to observe technique, begin with them all on the safest starting exercise and only when you have been able to observe them demonstrating correct technique advise them to progress the exercise.
6) “As a coach it is important to be able to identify players who exhibit risky movements and understand how to support their development of a sound technique.” How-to identify good/poor technique can be found on page 9 of the coach manual
7) At certain times in the season if you are aware that your athletes are under a lot of physical pressure, with competition or other factors, think about including a lower intensity training session and incorporate some yoga/pilates based exercises.
8) You could invite a sports physio to one of your end of season training sessions. They can hold a screening or support you with one and give advice on how to do these in the future whilst also providing your netballers with some off-season exercises to work on.
9) Have a listen to Episode 3 of our Autumn podcast mini series about how to keep players engaged if they do get injured. And if you have any fab ideas that you have used, share on the England Netball Coaching facebook page.
10) The importance of a cool down to enable your athletes to feel the benefit of the training should not be overlooked. To avoid muscle imbalances and undue pressure on joints it is important to lengthen the muscles that have been in use during training. See descriptions of some netball specific Stretching Exercises.
So a little taster of some things to get you started thinking about the topic. Remember that we can make a difference for everyone that we coach, let’s ensure that our players take care of themselves.