5 Ways To Build Stamina That Lasts All Netball Season
By stamina, we’re not talking about your ability to run a marathon - but if you happen to be a superhero-ninja-goddess marathon runner, high-five to that!
We’re talking about your mental and physical fitness to persevere from your pre-season netball training sessions, to your competitive matches without injury and fatigue weighing on your performance, and with ample energy to kick the intensity up a notch.
Nutrition and Hydration
Food is fuel for your body and your choice of nutrition is fundamental to your ability to perform and to sustain your exercising muscles all season.
Healthy eating doesn’t stop on the court – a well balanced diet that includes a nourishing source of carbohydrates for energy (e.g. wholegrain bread, brown rice, quinoa, unprocessed cereals - not the sugar-frosted kind!), and protein for muscle growth, repair and recovery (e.g. lean beef, poultry, salmon/tuna/mackerel, eggs, legumes and nuts) is critical for athletic performance.
Fruit and veg are
bountiful in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, while the addition of healthy
fats in your diet in the form of oily fish, nuts and seeds is beneficial for
A well-balanced diet can help ward off iron deficiency which may inhibit your energy levels, and staying hydrated will assist in all body processes including nutrient delivery, so keep a water bottle close even on your rest days as a reminder to drink up.
Prepare Your Body - Don’t Leave It Until The Last Minute
As much as you’d love
to bounce off your flamingo-shaped bean bag (or couch) and immediately
back onto the court, going straight from minimal activity to a full-blown
netball match is a recipe for injury. Training your body should be a gradual
process, increasing intensity as your fitness improves.
Condition your muscles for netball with netball-specific drills to develop and refine the skills associated with the game (jumping, shooting, catching, passing, agility etc.), including applying the three second and no stepping rules until they’re second nature.
training off the court with cross-training sessions pre- and during the
netball season that focus on aerobic fitness, strength, speed and endurance.
Strength training with dumbbells and weights or using your own body as resistance (e.g. push-up twists, chin ups, squat jumps) boosts body strength, core stability and power while conditioning your body to tolerate excess stress to your joints on the court. You may even consider setting up a home gym or gym membership for a motivational boost.
Explosive sprints help your body meet the demands of the start-stop nature of the game and builds the speed you need to intercept the ball, switch direction and keep up with the blazing pace of your opponents.
You want to transform
your body into a netball machine, but overtraining can take a massive toll on
your mind and muscles, and leave you an exhausted shell of your awesome, energetic self.
Each week you should
schedule in one to two rest days (such as the day before a game) – and even
though you may have a twinge of guilt for taking a break - don’t.
It is essential to find this balance between training and recovery to allow your body to repair and improve your performance in the long run. Include low intensity sweat sessions such as a light cycle, jog, swim, Pilates or yoga in your training routine so you’re not always pushing your body at full capacity.
Catch Your Zzz
Yep, we thought you’d
like this one - a good excuse to stay rugged up in bed like a burrito! Sleep is
essential for athletic performance, from improving your reaction times and
increasing accuracy, to supporting muscle recovery and mood (because nobody
wants to play with a cranky monkey on their back!).
Not only will fatigue hinder your ability to perform at your peak, but it may increase injury risk on the court as your concentration declines - and in a no-contact sport where players can accidentally collide into each other like freight trains, being on the ball (pun intended) when it comes to focus and your spatial awareness is critical.
Our tip? As much as it’s glued to our hips in this modern world, don’t look at your smartphone and turn off bright screens 1-2 hours leading up to sleep - this helps prevent your brain from being overstimulated and controls your exposure to light. Instead, curl up with a good book.