Netball, the girls’ go-to sport, has come a long way. From being the extra-curricular activity you loved at school, to the investment in netball has seen the emergence of professionalism in the sport. Now, pro netball spans multiple watch-worthy leagues here in SA and beyond.
It’s also a great way to stay active, even though you’re out of school. Clubs and leagues abound, so join one, get active and heed these tips from the pros to up your game.
Perfect your attack
Practise Your Passes
Sharpening your passes and ball placement is key for making sure your ball lands in the right hands, says Khanyisa Chawane, a national player who also coaches at the university level. Practise passing the ball to a friend or to the wall, via different angles: overhead, at a 45-degree angle and straight across.
Level Up Your Agility
“Attack is based more on vision, ball placement, agility and change of direction,” says Khanyisa. “As an attacker, it is very important that you tick all those skill boxes before stepping onto the court.” To work on agility, practise shuttle sprints with direction change slotted in.
Getting free from defenders is key. Practise your dodging skills by doing quick pivots and dives. “Practise your vision because the quicker you can see your options, the quicker the ball will be carried to the shooters,” says Burta De Kock, Netball Head Coach at the University of the Free State.
Mount a defence
Up your reaction time with quick-falling balls, says Burta. Let your partner drop tennis balls and you intercept them before the ball touches the ground. And feel those quads burn.
Up Your Interception
“It’s crucial to work on your anticipation skills and ability to read the game and apply pressure,” says Khanyisa. To work on your anticipation and interception, try a box drill. Set up four cones in a large box shape and get someone to throw you the ball at each cone. Jump and twist your body so you’re facing each cone when you receive the ball.
Do Core Work
If your core is weak, you’ll have the odds stacked against you when it comes to intercepting the ball, says Burta. “Because you are working so hard to intercept the ball, if you can do it without contact and a balanced body, you will be successful!” she adds.
Train When You’re Tired
Shooting under pressure is going to happen, so try to simulate the experience by practising shooting after running through the court. You’ll feel tired but be able to take shots better in that scenario, making your shots more accurate during game time, advises Burta.
Try Zone Shooting
Shooting in different zones will up your game when you’re getting closed in during a match. Practise shooting when you’re close to the pole, in the mid-range and at the edge of the circle, says Khanyisa. Ten minutes in each zone should help.
Close Your Eyes
Sounds counter-intuitive, closing your eyes allows you to zone in on your body. “Put shots up with defenders at least three times a week,” says Burta. “Shooting is a skill to be mastered, so also shoot with closed eyes and work through the skill.”
From court shoes to cute crops, elevate your game with these key pieces.
From jumping to running to unexpected stops, make sure your tatas stay in place with a HIIT-level bra.
While skorts are traditional courtwear, players have been cosying up to shorts since they’re more functional.
Find a moisture-wicking shirt to repel sweat and keep you airy during games.
Since the sport involves lots of pounding that affects joints, strap up when you feel a niggle in your knees or ankles.
These socks have stratified areas and wrap the foot for extra functionality and comfort, as you quickly switch positions. On the court, thicker socks are a must.
We recommend a specialised court shoe. Why? Because you’ll need a shoe that can handle direction change, sharp stops and pivots.