Although netballers tend to mirror gazelles, graciously springing around a court, long limbs do unfortunately have a knack of injuring themselves. The majority of netballing mishaps occur in the motion of landing or changing direction, with injuries of the knee and ankle being the biggest culprits.
The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is the main stabilising ligament of the knee This ligament enables netballers to twist, pivot and abruptly decelerate. With this in mind, 70% of ACL injuries in netball are non-contact in nature (so we can’t actually blame the opposing player for getting injured….).
Believe it or not, there is research showing how effective injury prevention programmes are at improving dynamic knee control, and in turn reducing those pesky ACL injuries by 30-70%!
Here are some key exercises which focus on functional stability and control, whilst also creating a love affair between you and your ACL:
Single leg hop ‘Partner Push’ – get your teammate to give you a light push to challenge your balance/control with an unexpected change of direction (keep it friendly gals!)
Lateral Shuffle – keeping on your toes and knees bent, rapidly follow a signal from your coach to shuffle either left or right. Add in an unexpected ball throw to spice things up a little.
Sliding Shuffle – accelerate with speed followed by decelerating rapidly then reversing back on yourself. Keep up this ‘sliding’ motion until you have run the full length of the court.
- Avoid poorly controlled knee valgus (your knees gluing together on landing)
- Soften your landing by shock absorbing through your knees and hips
- Do the basics well – then add in the complicated sports specific moves after
- Learn to love your ACL!