Photo: POP Pilates

Most netball players stretch before and after the game however stretching on a daily basis will have a greater impact on your court performance, according to Netball Australia’s Athlete Wellbeing Manager Mary Toomey.

Mary: If you’re not mobile enough to [perform the skill] technically correct, then what you do is develop adapted movement patterns which aren’t nearly as efficient or as economical in terms of the amount of energy required as the ideal skill pattern.” 

“You end up taking short cuts which cost more in terms of the energy required to produce them, they cost more in terms of the load that’s placed on your body.”  This is especially common amongst young netball players therefore, to improve the range of movement in muscles and joints try Pilates.

What is pilates?

A form of exercise that helps to develop core strength, flexibility and balance.

What are the benefits of pilates?

Pilates improves a player’s movement capacity and potential to be a better athlete. If you can more easily execute the skills during a game you are better equipped to manage your endurance because you work more efficiently to perform the range of movement.

A few simple stretches, in particular in relation to posture, can improve a netballer’s ability as Toomey explains.

Mary: There are a lot of young netballers who are very tight through the chest with a slightly rounded upper back, it’s a posture you see more and more these days with people sitting and working at computers all day.

Kids do so much more of sitting at computers these days so any stretch they can do that opens up either chest and makes their back more upright and mobile is a good stretch because you need to be able to do that to get a higher release shot with the ball.

You can’t get your arm up over your head properly if you can’t straighten your shoulders and back.

The other one which is quite common is hip flexors with the amount of time that people spend sitting.

Where to begin with pilates

Get started with some basic beginner stretches to avoid chronic patterns of tightness:

If you are keen here is a 30 minute total body work out to try. Incorporating pilates into your lifestyle not only improves your game but improves you in general so give it a try!