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Netball: Why a Warm up is Your Best Defence!

August 7, 2017 by Procare

By Dr Stephanie Cations BAppSc (CompMed) MHs (Osteo) – Osteopath

Hands up who likes to warm up before a netball game? Unless you strangely love it like I do, my guess is it’s not your favourite part of playing netball. I get it. For most of us, netball is a winter sport played outdoors, so peeling off those nice warm layers when the mercury is yet to hit 10, isn’t exactly ideal! But if you’re still wearing that hoodie at the end of your warm up have you really warmed up? Probably not.

Warming up prior to a netball game is a critical part of the team routine. Often players are keen to just ‘get on with the game’, but the warm up, as far as your body is concerned, is way more important than what happens once the opposition shows up! Of course it also gives us a chance for some last minute coaching and mental preparation, but of utmost importance is getting your body fully limbered up in order to assist in avoiding injury.

A good warm up should be a progressive build up of stretching, movement, speed and ball skills, preparing your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments for the hour ahead.

Netball is a three dimensional sport, that means movements and play happen in all directions, so let’s prepare our bodies for that. I’m going to give you an example of a simple 4 step netball warm up that progressively builds intensity and warms up your body, so you’ll come out firing in that first quarter, and hopefully decrease your time on the sideline with injury. (If you are sitting out a quarter, make sure you run through a few of these drills before you go back on).


Dynamic stretches are stretches but with movement. We all know stretches are good but we’re about to be moving on the court so let’s combine the two.

Dynamic stretches should be smooth, fluid movements and not strained or forced. Only take your body where it wants to go but doing these regularly will increase your range of movement.

We start by lining up on the base line and work to the first transverse line. Complete a different stretch on the way back.

Lunge twists: step forward into a walking lunge and hold your arms out in front. As you lunge down, gently rotate your arms and body around to the same side as the leg that is in front, continue through next step with the other leg and repeat on that side.

This works on the hips, knee, ankles and rotation through the back, needed in sprinting and throwing


Side lunge reach: stand side on to court. Step out to one side and complete a side lunge. At the same time reach down to the inside of that knee. Lead with same leg for half of the third, turn around and lead with the other for the last half of the third.

Once again hips, knees ankles, and helps with the sidestep move


Side stretch: front on to the court. Put your right leg behind your left and raise your right arm above your head, gently side bend your body to the left. Hold for 5 seconds, step forward a few steps and swap sides.

This works on arms and back, and gets us ready for all that hands over defensive pressure, and goal shooting if you’re a goalie.

IMG_0097Anterior chain stretch: step forward with right leg and raise both arms above your head and gently lean backwards (not to pain!) Now step forward with the left leg and repeat.

This opens up through the front of the hips, abs and arms, preparing for quick leads


Posterior chain stretch: step forward with the right leg and gently swing both arms down towards that front ankle, allow your hips and knee to fold with it. Take a few steps, then repeat on the left.

Warming up those glutes and hamstrings for powerful drives


Note: because you’ve now completed your dynamic stretches, don’t stop for a chat, keep moving – remember, we need those trackies off!


This is when we start building on running style movements. This is your more traditional style netball warm up.

For us this involves:

  • Jogging back and forth from the transverse line x 5
  • Bum kicks x 1
  • High knee x 1 (get them up!)
  • Side steps x 1
  • Grape vine x 1
  • High skips x 1
  • Dodges x 1 (actual dodges not just ambling in a wobbly line!)


By now, you should be feeling pretty warm! Perfect timing to add some speed and sprint work!

This can involve the classic pitter patter- some one calling out, GO! And then sprinting to the transverse line. It could be lining up at the goal post, sprinting out to the edge of the circle, back to the goal post and then straight up to the transverse line. Doesn’t matter how you do it but get them in there. At least 6 of them. After all we’re about to play a quick game that involves short sharp movements. If the jumpers aren’t off now, then maybe you’re not working hard enough, so do a couple more.

Time for a quick drink of water.


Let’s warm those icy cold fingers up. Nobody likes a jarred finger!

We usually run 4 corners (with a few little variations) and goalie’s drill, but this part can be done however you like, and with what ever ball drills, passing sequences you find works for your team.

But remember. We’re warming up to play. So if you need to start off a little bit gently for those hands that’s fine. But build the speed, timing, driving and intensity, and perform them just like you would in a game.

By now, you should be warm and ready to go.  All of this should take you no more than 20-25 minutes. You have now prepared your muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons, to move in all directions, to take on whatever the next 4 quarters are going to throw at you.  Sure, it’s a contact sport and shit happens, you might still get hurt, but you’ve given yourself the best chance at avoiding and injury and turning around and doing it all again next week!

Please note, the advice above is generalised and may not be specific to your situation. If you have any specific injuries or are in doubt please contact one of our osteopaths or another health care provider to provide a specific diagnosis and treatment of your condition.

Click here to book an appointment with myself or one of our other osteopaths at Procare Geelong https://procare.cliniko.com/bookings

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