Our mix of young and senior Rep players bear testimony to this, as we only have six weeks to get players into competition ready shape. Since 2006 we have not had a single injury and are winning games against physically stronger teams through quick footwork, faster take-offs and good ball handling skills.
Please Note throughout the ebooks it is important to read the Sidenotes: which are in italics. These notes further clarify a point and this way you are never left in any doubt in how to properly implement a fitness technique avoiding poor training habits.
How quick and agile are you over 4 quarters of play? Are you first to the ball...?
All players need explosive speed from a standing start. It's a prerequisite of the game. Without initial take-off speed you will fall behind in play and your opponent will gain the edge over you.
But don't worry obtaining explosive speed is a lot easier to build than you may think.
It is quick movement you want not fast movement like a sprinter - there is a difference. As a netballer you have to be able to move quickly without thinking about it.
Netball requires a different agility and stamina to other sports because of the constant changes of direction and start/stop bursts of speed.
You are a speed burst and footwork specialist and that is how you need to train.
There are few sports omnidirectional like netball demanding quick footwork and fast take-off speed.
Drill work is not skill training but monotonous repetition that will slow down the dynamics of a player. Soccer drills have no relevance in netball and are of little benefit.
Three-dimensional sports such as gymnastics, squash, volley ball, netball are dynamic in their movement and don't require drill training. Drills are for linear (running) sports like football and track & field.
A netball player moves omnidirectionally and traditional exercise drills are inflexible that will do more harm than good by slowing your footwork and affects ball handling under game pressure - the very thing you are trying to improve.
Passing accurately is a skill not a drill. There is a cleaver little trick in mastering ball handling on your own detailed in chapter five of the first fitness ebook.
Drills are not dynamic but mechanical.
Goal shooting practice is a good example of a technical skill and should not be practiced under a drill format. Robotically putting up too many shots your concentration will wane and you lose proper technique and end up throwing the ball at the ring. This is when bad habits form.
Practice everything as a skill and your ability as a player will skyrocket.
To stay ahead of your opponent and become proficient at ball handling are only marginally improved through drills. It is skill through technique that gives 100% improvement.
Another example is leaping or jumping higher to take a rebound or intercept. Drills for jumping higher only offer marginal gains. Jumping higher is a developed skill. You will kick yourself when you see how easy it is to master.
Our Rep players wouldn't know what a drill was yet they are quick and nimble over the court and can leap like gazelles and pass a ball with bullet like accuracy. You will too! Training for this can be done on the day of competition as part of a warm up too.
Becoming highly skilled takes less time than drill work because you are employing technique to become proficient and not caught up in exercise repetitiveness that spoils form.
Even top netballers complain of being too slow to take-off lacking explosive starts to get around their opponent
The reason for slow footwork, unable to out manoeuvre your opponent or only progressing marginally is the way you train for footwork and court speed fitness.
Train like a soccer player and you won't develop the quick court work needed.
It doesn't matter whether you are a club or an elite player everyone will be slow if training is in the wrong dimension.
Netball players are not racing from point A to point B like a field player. Conventional athletic and drill training won't be enough to cut back and forth around your opponent or intercept the ball from an awkward angle in a split second.
A netball player's success depends on using a different fitness approach to all other court and field games...
To train successfully for netball is a shift from two-dimensional running training to three-dimensional court movement training
Training must always be 3-dimensional for quick and nimble footwork around your opponent. You are not runners, like soccer players, but play more in line to a game of squash, quickly and explosively.
All court based sports should train three-dimensionally. Few coaches train players this way because of the assumption that court games are founded on running rather than on footwork.
Traditionally court game players train like football players and while this will make you aerobically fit - it will not prepare you specifically for netball. It wouldn't matter if you won the Hawaiian ironman event or had the strength to climb Mt. Everest, this won't make you fit for the speed, twists and turns of netball.
Netball is a fast, tough and skilled game hampered
by speed humps that no other sport has
What is often not given consideration to is the way netball encounters speed humps forcing players to start/stop throughout the game.
These speed humps are the three second and no stepping rules.
Overcoming these speed humps is not as difficult as you may think when applying proper 3-dimensional training methods.
You will see results instantly, that is day by day. Our rep players bear testimony to this every year with only six weeks to prepare for carnivals and one-day matches.
There are six components to netball court work...
1. To move quickly in any direction without hesitation
To move explosively is an area of fitness players have wrestled with for years including national and state players.
Manoeuvring around another players from a standing start without lag can only be mastered through specific training because of the constant and unrelenting start/stop efforts every quarter of netball.
Very few field sports and court games demand the rigours of 360 degree training. Netball does!
For this training to be properly effective, as a player, you can't think about it. Fast speed movement has to come to you naturally - occurring so many times during a game. Four minutes training twice a week is all it takes to develop incredible court speed.
Avoid the trap where many players mistake 'court speed training' for an arduous anaerobic sprint session. Track & field form of sprinting will slow you down not make you faster, as it is training for a straight line as in a 100 metre sprint. You want start/stop training, which is not sprint training at all.
2. Quick court game footwork
Netball is like squash requiring super quick footwork. You have to train 3-dimensionally to develop omnidirectional movement over small areas.
Why? Because as a netballer you need the ability to move laterally (sideways) and back & forth (cutting) with speed and stability through graceful sure footed actions. Traditional linear training for endurance based sports your footwork will be awkward and a little clumsy hindering natural speed progression.
The training methods shown to you in your fitness ebook are not traditional running drills but true footwork movement techniques designed specifically for the way players move in and around the goal circle.
3. Plyometric leap and take-off speed
The right type of plyometric training gives you the ability to turn faster and leap higher to intercept the ball. You will be able to push off with each stride with the spring of a gazelle.
Your torque to move ultra-quickly will take on new dimensions placing your court take-off speed into the league of professional sporting athletes even at club level.
Note only true plyometrics will achieve these results.
Unfortunately those trained in the science of sport have been improperly influenced into believing that plyometrics are founded on the jumping action rather than explosive technique.
True plyo training is one of the major reasons why the Russians and many European countries have been so successful in court game sports. Their speed and explosiveness is second to none. Yours will be too - that I can promise.
However if you don't recruit the correct plyometric format the results will be zero through improper technique. 95% of websites and videos that demonstrate plyometrics have it wrong because it has been turned into a cardio exercise and jazzed up, which defeats its whole purpose of player strength to leap and take-off speed from a standing start.
4. Traditional strength training techniques can make you tired and slow
Anyone in competition must have sporting strength because your work rate places greater demand on your working muscle fibres.
Whole body and core strength eludes nearly every netball player because of the energy zapping methods used today.
These strength & conditioning programs are like a diet - they never last. They are designed for wattage power athletes benefiting a gymnast, rower, sprinter or road rider for raw power.
But in netball your strength requires the flexibility to move strongly time after time to withstand the perpetual turning, twisting, bending and start/stop efforts of the game.
You were born with adequate muscle fibre. It is much better to make the fibre you already have denser, not bigger, and this way you will have strong supple muscles, ligaments and tendons.
It's whole body strength you need in abundance to hold those awkward angles netballers find themselves in. It is what I term 'crowbar' strength that makes your body and core strong all year round not just for a few months and then weaken off.
A court athlete does not need power-strength, which is for racing and contact sport athletes. So why train for it? It is training without relevance.
Whole body strength through technique develops strong supple muscle without the risk of strain or ligament injuries while you train. At the same time you are building footwork stability and body flexibility - something you definitely cannot do in a weight room or through a generic program.
We have 13 year olds holding their ground against bigger and stronger senior players and they are rock steady.
It is easy to gain whole body strength, to hold your ground and move strongly, without lifting a single weight.
This age old method is so effective it only takes a couple of minutes twice a week and eliminates the inevitable risk of muscle tweaks and strains that goes with lifting weights and resistance work.
4a. Flexibility of your joints - added to Edition 2 of Netball Fitness ebook
Floor gymnasts and ballet dancers have this flexibility built into their training routines like passing and goal shooting is built into netball.
For general fitness, people strive for this muscle and joint flexibility through static and dynamic stretching, yoga, pilates, physio, weight resistance and in time everyone will subject themselves to a minor niggle, pulled muscles or worse.
Not worth the risk having to sit out a game or possibly the remainder of the season, all from one small inappropriate stretching movement.
Having flexible joints gives you a full range of motion without any stretching involved. This method is so simple it has become a lost art in modern sport's physiology. 30 seconds a day and I can promise you will have the joint flexibility to pick up a contested ball easily or make an awkward stretch for the ball without any strain or body stress.
5. Agility and mobility court pace
The one curse of all netball players is the jarring of knees and twisting ankles often putting you out of action. It doesn't have to be that way, as you can eliminate rolling an ankle with proper suppleness.
Runners by nature develop hard inflexible tendons and cyclists don't. We will borrow a cycling technique without having to ride a bike. This special agility footwork training will keep you fully mobile, light on your feet and nimble.
6. Stamina to combat the start/stop strain of netball
Netballers need game stamina to combat the constant starting and stopping and directional changes. I will show you how to train for stamina in a few minutes a day and always have that staying power to the final whistle.
Sidenote: In hindsight if I knew, when I was a defender and a goal shooter, what I know today, my body strength, coordination and definitely my agility would have never let me down.
Put all six netball fitness components together and you will be dictating the terms of the game not your opponent.
You can unlock every element of netball fitness through two PDF ebooks downloaded to your desktop or tablet
All chapters should be read so training mistakes aren’t made. Each one leads into the next, giving you a total fitness road-map for netball.
To train effectively you must train the way you play which will prevent you from training like a triathlete or hockey player.
A major problem for any athlete in any sport is training for general fitness rather than sporting fitness.
The two are opposites. You can be fit but are you fit and strong for the way netball is played?
Netball Fitness Chapter headings...
Every player, at any level, will improve their ball handling, court speed and natural footwork skills providing you follow the sport's specific training shown in the ebook.
1 Netball requires specific training
2 Train the way you play
3 Fast footwork & take-off speed
4 Netball specific strength
5 How to maximize training with less effort
6 How to ratchet up your speed and stamina
7 Staying fit, fast and fresh
8 A shortcut to fitness that works
Train right and you can become netball fit in weeks not months
Running up hills, soccer drills, doing push ups, chin ups, leg lunges, moving weighted objects about is...training without relevance and more suited to how a rugby player trains, not a netball player.
All your specific netball fitness training can be executed literally in one square metre while never leaving a netball court - if you know how. And you will know how...
There is not a single court game, such as, squash, volleyball or basketball that requires the take-off speed and manoeuvrability around their opponents as netball player's must possess and thus the reason netball is so unique
You can see now how you must train with sporting relevance otherwise mediocre results can only be achieved.
It's not talent a player needs, as I can't count how many times I have trained seemingly uncoordinated players to see them develop into agile and nimble athletes in a matter of weeks not months.
3-Dimensional training has 40% more efficiency over 2-Dimensional training every time
A classic mistake for multi-directional court games is 2-D training. To develop quick and agile footwork and court speed can only be trained effectively through 3-Dimensional work otherwise you will have the turning circle of a draft horse.
A huge side benefit from 3-D training is it will also build quick reflexes, promotes very good balance and heightens your concentration to last much longer. No drills needed, as this training is based on technique and your neurological system more than any amount of traditional linear muscle work.
Training in the proper dimension will develop biomechanical speed and fluidity of movement precisely what every netball player wants to nip around the court easily without prematurely exhausting your energy levels.
Four (4) minutes twice a week is all you will need to generate efficient and fluid speed over the court. No slogging it out like cyclists and sprinters have to. Not many athletes outside Europe know about training biomechanics but you will become experts in chapters three and six and be able to move back and forth like the wind
Torque is what accelerates you from a standing start NOT power
A real training error players make in ball games is they train for power rather than for torque.
In a running race, toque is not needed only horsepower to get you to the finish line as fast as possible.
The stop/start action of netball is quick take-off and push-off speed delivered through torque.
Once you start training for torque/speed your court footwork will be more than impressive and look like you took a dose of talent pills.
The slowest of players can become quick and nimble, as you are not racing, needing hours and hours of training.
The 2nd ebook compliments your Netball Fitness training in preparation for the game. You need both ebooks to be a complete netball player...
Netball Ready Steps - Game Preparation ebook
When you are properly fit and in condition for the netball season the two areas that can let you down are game preparation and form.
This ebook has been many years in the making, through experience with endurance sport's racing athletes and netball competition over several decades.
To make sure you play to your full ability, you cannot afford to suffer from leg muscle fatigue before the game starts and when playing on hard surfaces, as these two critical areas of game preparation, if ignored, will zap your competitive edge.
You have to know how to stay limber and agile for the entire game.
You will learn the most effective method for pre-game warm ups, without jogging or dangerous static stretching. Proper warm up principles promotes agility and speed and at the same time preventing potential injury.
Also for those who are late to a game start, there is an efficient method, to warm up safely in a few minutes. Traditional warm ups can't do that under any circumstances.
To professionally complete your warm up finish with a super reflex exercise for explosive starts. Like a track & field sprinter you need to sprint out of the blocks explosively to stay ahead of your opponent at every centre pass.
To be sure you get through the toughest and fastest games it is vital to maintain your energy levels by drinking and eating the right foodstuffs. Few get this right even at elite level. This I have learnt from cycling track and road riders who are masters at conserving energy right to the end.
The same with recovery very few trainers and coaches understand there is a time restraint for effective recovery. It is what you do in the first hour after competition and training that matters not so much what you do over your recovery days.
The forth chapter is probably the most important about the lost art of warming up. No point being super fit and having a ton of energy, if you start off slowing by incorrectly warming up and sustain even a niggling injury it undermines all your training and game preparation.
If you start every game playing well your psyche as a netball player will lift and just from this confidence your game will improve leaps and bounds.
Contents of the netball preparation steps ebook
These steps are more than tried & proven and what all netball players should be applying, as well as how to prevent the common energy drop in the 4th quarter.
Step 1 24 hours out can zap your competitive edge
Step 2 Water, soft drink or sport’s drinks
Step 3 Eating before, during and after exercise
Step 4 The lost art of warming-up
Step 5 You have one hour for effective game recovery
Step 6 How to win the grand final
Train for your sport and see instant results
The beauty of specific netball training is you don't need to train the long hours like a triathlete or racing cyclist. Being super fit aerobically is not going to make a player fit for netball being a 3-Dimensional game.
Yes a netballer needs to be quick and nimble but not so fast that s/he could blitz the world's ten thousand metre record. That sort of fitness offers little if any benefit to playing netball.
There is no universal training method. For example...
Cycling has pedalling cadence.
Triathletes have fast transitions.
Basketball players have the three point line.
Squash players have four walls competing against them.
Training for standard two dimensional aerobic and VO²max intensity fitness will not fully develop you as a player either. Your physical conditioning as an agility player will lag. It is fast body movement you want not fast leg speed like a track runner.
In a nutshell your biomechanics and especially playing technique will be non-existent under endurance sports racing methods, which is sadly how most court based game players train.
You can blame this on media influence and advertising adages like "no pain no gain" and "more is better". These adages came out of the body building era in the sixties and were never meant as a training aid for endurance speed athletes.
I have watched netball players doing push ups and squats. Why? Your are not a rugby player but a lightweight player nimble and quick throwing a lightweight ball.
In my 60+ years I have been transformed physically, being a lot more agile and stable on court, than when I was in my prime. My weight has not changed and my working strength has gone up.
Netball has the start/stop rules.
A problem arises if a netball player trains for another person's sport. It is called redundant training. It is valuable time wasted. You want three dimensional adeptness to combat directional changes of a very fast flowing game. Train that way and your game ability will take surprise your teammates and coach.
Netball does NOT require talent to be the very best player
One myth that has circulated for decades is “It's all in the genes”. For most athletes the genetic makeup is basically the same for any team sport. Genetics only plays its part with linear speed for racing athletes and long distance endurance events.
In those extremes athletes do need high VO²max (oxygen uptake) and large lung (litre) capacity. For court game sports your energy and power to move is expended in short bursts. Genes don't come into the equation.
For netball these attributes wouldn't even be recognised but every athlete does need the right training format for success.
As an example we have tested umpteen netball players for 'quick take-off' from a standing start after specific training. It only takes a few minutes to see the results. Not one player has ever failed the test and all can explode forward three times quicker than through conventional running and sprint training. No genes just specific training.
13 year olds playing like seasoned veterans
How can thirteen year olds hold their own against more experienced and more conditioned adults who have stronger physiques and years of experience in what works and what doesn't?
It is not netball savvy as anyone can have that from junior to veteran levels.
It is through training for extra quick footwork enabling a player to take space away from her opponent. It is this simple. Height is not necessary if you are constantly ahead of your opposition as a player and as a team.
One year I was asked to train a rep team of 13 year olds, which at first I wasn't keen about having only coached under 17's and senior players. I wasn't sure if this age group would be serious enough or mentally strong enough to train at a high level.
But with some arm pulling and some fast talking by the promoter of our rep squads I was up for the challenge.
Physically I knew there wouldn't be a problem with the players being young and determined. But would the young goal shooters be intimidated? Would the shorter defenders be able to out manoeuvre their taller opponents?
We started training...
In six weeks, for two hours each Sunday morning, these young girls transformed from plodding around the court like Old Brown's cows to being super quick and nimble players.
Fitness is gained quickly when you train specifically for a sport. No time was wasted building athletic fitness that will never be used or needed.
Because they would be playing seasoned netballers we counteracted their adult strength and height for quicker footwork and a higher court training speed.
No one pulled out of the training because we made it interesting and introduced footwork techniques that are shorter in duration and five times more effective than the traditional footwork and fast feet slogs that don't really work for netball.
At the carnival their speed around the court was impressive not to mention their ball speed and accuracy. I will admit I didn't expect senior results in such young players so quickly. They did the same training as the older more mature players and they responded so well through the way they trained.
Using a proper sequence of training in a specific order gives you the ultimate results in no time at all. This is a true shortcut to fitness.
With this age group we have won 11/12, 5/12, 9/13 and 7/12 games played against senior teams from around Australia (7 minutes halves) during the annual two day carnival.
But it wasn't how many games they won but what was more impressive was how they came back from five or six goals down to win many of these games.
If you train correctly for court speed and agility using netball specific technique you will be rewarded as these young girls are each year.
You can contact me through the main ILoveNetball website
NetballFitness.com & UmpiringNetball.com are extensions of ILoveNetball.com
Unlock true netball fitness today and see immediate results...
Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot become fit and a skilled ball handler quickly without injury. You can and will if you apply three-dimensional training for court games and not the universal training principles of 2D racing sports that takes years to master.
This project has been 5 years in the making and 3 years writing the ebooks to make sure all the information is correct and specific to netball. No superfluous information or padding.
All aspects of netball court fitness & skills are interwoven through two ebooks to turn you into a top-notch player from club to professional level.
Drill training deadens ball handling and slows footwork
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Contents of the netball fitness ebook
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Draft copies of these ebooks have been evaluated by players around the globe. We have also worked closely with coaches in Australia and New Zealand over the last two years regarding fitness and skill training.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself from the email feedback. Players that once spent too much time on the bench are playing the last quarter without fading. Teams are now showing their presence and not in a rut at the bottom of their competition ladder.
One team, working with their coach, went from bottom of their league competition to the top, which was the previous season a pipe dream. His players while quicker over the court now had energy to burn.
If you run out of energy you run out of concentration and slow down and this is when turnovers occur.
You will not be disappointed with the content or the explanations of these ebooks in how to train and prepare for netball. You have 100 years of collective experience in coaching Rep teams, umpiring, playing netball and endurance racing sports at world level to tap into.
UMFNA Rep coach
Coach and player emails from around the world
The training information in these ebooks literally fell into my lap spending 20 years as a passenger in road cycling “Sag Wagons” and “Race Commissaries” vehicles.
The uniqueness of the sag wagon has been learning from Tour de France, National & Open riders and their trainers in what may have caused them to retire from a race early.
I have heard every disappointment of these athletes and better still heard every possible explanation to correct their training mistakes. For a great many of these riders I was also able to witness their improvement over the years and what adjustments were made to their training.
To make things more interesting, I get firsthand, the highs and lows of racing from my husband who has competed in 600 road races, 450 running races and clocked over 20,000 training hours. He is still clocking up hundreds of hours and in his spare time coaches endurance athletes, personal trainers and general fitness enthusiasts.
I have been personally trained in injury prevention, strength, conditioning and by endurance coaches from Europe and sport's physiotherapists in Australia. My personal training has also been honed living with an athlete who has been racing since 1963 and trained by an Olympic gymnastics and running coach.
From international to local club levels I have made many friends in the coaching world of competitive sport. It has become a huge resource for this netball fitness series as the fundamentals of training, speed, intensity and recovery apply to ALL sports just the amount and variants differ.
It is from this background I realised how court and field games have been wrongly influence through inappropriate training methods not meant for ball games especially netball being a non flowing game.
Since the early nineties I have also learnt about strength, stamina and conditioning from a former competitive body builder who is also a Track and Road rider. His whole family are keen netballers.
He has won Mr Victoria title and countless national track sprint and road races since the seventies. Today he runs a gym and trains athletes for competitive racing sports and general fitness. It has been his combined body building and racing that has made him an expert in pre and post competition recovery. A rare combination.
I have spent time at rep selection days with Victorian State netball coaches and as you would imagine every aspect of netball is thrashed out. I still keep on learning and tweaking how to train players to be better court athletes.
In summary the information in both ebooks must be accurate and specific to netball to avoid any training disappointment and wasted time. It is on my onus that the information is backed by a wealth of experience of trusted athletes and coaches who know what they are talking about.
You will be tapping into everything I have learnt about playing netball when this wonderful game was first called women's basketball.
My netball career spans a 55 year period playing, umpiring and coaching professionally for clubs and rep teams. While I am not the only one who loves the game or has experience in umpiring and coaching, it has been the cornerstone of writing the two fitness ebooks.
Watching the game of netball progress over half a century, more so as an umpire than a player, has given me a great insight in how competitions are won and lost.
This is why I have written into the last chapter of the Netball Ready Steps Preparation ebook - How to win the grand final.
My qualifications and experience
Getting around your opponent can be a continuous struggle. But trying to keep up is not from, a lack of skill or talent. It is from the wrong type of training for netball.
Being aerobically fit or fast like a track runner is not a pre-qualification to be quick and sure footed around a netball court.
Don't waste time, like I did for decades, with inappropriate training methods that are still prevalent today, even at National & State levels.
So let's get cracking and see just how easy it is to be fit, fast and fresh for netball on far less training than traditionally done today.
These ebooks are prepared and written by Rae Druce in collaboration with her husband, Rod, who has been racing since 1963, and now coach’s endurance athletes and personal trainers.
You can unlock every element of netball fitness through two PDF ebooks downloaded to your desktop or tablet
I have been a dedicated follower of yours for the past couple of seasons and totally believe in your netball philosophies.
I recently purchased your fitness e-books and what an epiphany!! It all makes perfect sense to me as a coach, who has been a little stuck in the 'old school' ways.
I honestly was so excited when I started reading the e-books on Tuesday I got a sore neck and shoulders from reading so much.
One training and one game on, from a huge loss a week ago, my team performed much better and I could see the e-book training working it's magic already. We still have loads to work on, but thankfully that task has been made a lot easier with all the great information and guidance in the e-books.
A newly enlightened coach...
Joondalup Netball Assn
Perth, Western Australia
Read Donna's full testimonial
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