Biomechanical Factors Affecting Performance in Netball
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Despite netball having one of the largest number of participants of any team game within the Commonwealth there has been limited research conducted which biomechanically analysed skills of the game. However, information presented from biomechanical analyses of skills can provide coaches with the necessary theoretical basis to teach netball fundamentals to junior players. Biomechanical information can also be used to refine the existing techniques of experienced netball players so they may achieve optimal technical performance of game skills while minimising the potential for injury.
Changes to footwork rules and to the material properties of court surfaces and footwear could reduce stress placed on the musculoskeletal system. However, the factor which influences musculoskeletal stress to the greatest extent is a player’s landing technique. Thus, the first concern for all netball coaches must be to teach all players to land correctly. The magnitude and rate of loading of the high vertical and horizontal ground reaction forces generated when players execute abrupt landings in netball are reduced more effectively by encouraging players to throw higher passes, requiring the receiver to jump upward to catch the ball. However, to maximise the reduction in stress placed on the musculoskeletal system on landing, players should be encouraged to land with the foot neutrally aligned (not abducted or adducted), ensure adequate hip and knee flexion, and reduce the foot-hip displacement by eliminating an exaggerated ‘striding out’ position often adopted by netball players.
Apart from landing techniques, the only netball skill that has been objectively analysed is goal shooting. To improve shooting accuracy players should demonstrate greater flexion of the knees and shooting elbow when preparing to shoot, sufficient but not excessive hyperextension of the hand to stabilise the ball, minimisation of trunk, arm and forearm movements during the shooting action in favour of increased hand motion, greater release height and greater release velocity.
If the potential for injury from poorly executed skills in netball is to be minimised, further research is required to identify the most efficient methods of performing all skills involved in the game, including pivoting, rebounding, defensive movement patterns, and attacking movement strategies.
KeywordsGround Reaction Force Injury Incidence Vertical Ground Reaction Force Sport Shoe Coaching Manual
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