It may be that I'm stating the obvious for which my apologies in advance.

A good average training session is 2 hours; you can do quite a lot in 90mins but 60 mins doesn't give you enough time, you end up trying to do too much and do not really achieve a great deal. I know facility hire can be a problem, around my part of Sussex, you can only hire courts in one-hour blocks. We changed our club training last season from one hour a week to two hours a fortnight. Attendance has been fairly steady and skills seem to be improving.

You need to plan for 3 distinct phases: 1. Warm up and ball skills, 2. Drills, and 3. Match practice. To vary it, you can do 1, 3 and 2 using the match to give you pointers to the specific drills you want to work on.

This link will take you to background information about fitness with link to other sites


WARM-UP Most teams I see on a league night, turn up at the last minute, jog a couple of times round the court, have a quick fag and then start their game! You should aim to develop speed and stamina so some weeks go for something based on sprinting and other weeks work on stamina. For sprinting, I like to use CHRISTMAS TREE. Players set out in pairs from one goal and jog diagonally across the goal third to where the goal third line meets the side line and then sprint towards each other. Then jog diagonally to where the next goal third line meets the sideline and sprint towards each other, jogging to the corners and back to the goal post at the far end of the court. The two players then sprint up the middle of court to finish at the start. The players need to keep in pace with each other the whole time. If you picture the movement patterns, the players run the outline of a Christmas tree! But you can do any number of variations on this theme of jogging and sprinting up and down the court. For stamina you need something like FIVEs & THREEs. Players set off and jog 5 paces forward and three paces back aiming to do 8 lengths of the court (ie 4 times there and back). Each leg slightly faster than the previous, so that by the time they're on the last leg home they are almost (but not quite) running. The key thing is to get them working on an equal stride pattern both backwards and forwards. You can develop this so (for example) they jog 5 paces off to the left and five paces to the right in a jig-zag pattern - good for making them work on their feet. Mary Beardwood uses 3s&5s quite a bit with the England team.

Ball skills are also quite an important part of warm up. Nothing fancy, just good basic movements. Some drills should be one player working with one ball then going on to 2 players passing the ball between them. You can also do 2 players passing and one player defending/intercepting. The key thing to work on is the "Double W" hold on the ball. The aim is for the player to have their hands spread out like a "W" shape holding the back of the ball, rather than the more traditional way of holding the ball at the sides; this enables the player to put a lot more "push" into the ball. The other thing to discourage players doing is to rotate their wrists and then with their elbows sticking out, flick the ball. This puts tremendous extra pressure on player's wrists, which can be avoided using the "W" shape. In a 2-hour session you should aim to do at least 20 mins.

The drills session needs to be well planned with the basic movements worked on by small groups of 3 or 4 players. Then you build the drill by adding defenders and then adding some complexity ending up with something like FLYING BALLS where you have 4 groups of players standing at the top and bottom and sides of the court:


.........X G
.........X C


.........X D
.........X H

Players A and B have a ball each. The aim is for player A to pass the ball to player D who catches it and passes it to player G and for Player B to pass the ball to Player C who catches it and passes it on to Player H

In the next round H will pass to F and G to E. After passing the ball the player runs on to the other side of the court; so AE will end up at the back of the right hand team and BF at the back of the left hand team with DH at the back of the top team and so on. The two balls are going around the sides! (Just work at it -it'll come clear when you do it!) The aim is for the catching and passing to take place a point @ So you will have worked on passing into spaces, moving after passing along with catching and passing. You should allow an hour for this.

Then you finish up with a game, allow 30 mins and set some conditions like; free passes award to the opposition for sloppy overhead passes (assuming that it wasn't intercepted!). Also feel free to stop the game and set up situations (probably better in the first half so that they can play an uninterrupted game in the second half. If you don't have 14 players play 5 aside (allow the GK and GS to come into the centre third). If you have more than 14, allow players sitting on the side to claim a position after every goal (or every other gaol).

Although netball is seen as a female sport, if you run some open sessions (for both males and juniors). You'll probably find that your local Sports Development Officer (address from local council or leisure centre) will be happy to provide some support in advertising these sessions and may well contribute to court hire. You could possibly run some Netball Fun Days aimed at introducing a wide range of people to basic netball skills with the opportunity of attracting new members.


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