Netball is a very demanding sport that involves high levels of aerobic fitness. A netball game can last for a prolonged period of time so the body uses the aerobic energy system to produce energy. An amateur netballer may train twice a week, but an elite athlete may train five or six times a week with sessions particularly tailored to improving aerobic fitness.
Interval training is completing bouts of exercise followed by periods of rest. The amount of exercise and rest is dependent on the aim of the training session, for example, if you're training for aerobic fitness for netball, you would exercise for about two to three minutes with a short rest. A session can include using the netball court as a training aid. A session might include running lengths of the netball court for a set time, such as two minutes, followed by a 30 second rest. You would repeat the session five times.
Fartlek is the Swedish word for speed play. This type of training is particularly effective for netball players, because it combines a range of training speeds and intensities, which is what different positions use during a game. Fartlek is a combination of sprints, jogs and walks in succession, which is continued for a prolonged period such as 20 minutes. Using the netball lines, normally the outside lines, the course can consist of jog along one side line, walk the end line, sprint the opposite side line and walk the end line to the beginning in a box formation. You need to continue this for the full 20 minutes.
A circuit training session is one of the best and most specific ways to train for netball. This type of training consists of eight to 10 individual stations, which groups of two or three will work their way around. Each station lasts for a given amount of time followed by a period of rest before moving onto the next station. Each station can include either a fitness exercise or a sport-specific movement. An example of stations might be: Sit-ups, push-ups, shuttle runs, netball shooting, passing, footwork practice and mat-running. To improve aerobic fitness, each station should last three minutes and have 30 seconds rest.
Why Train Aerobic Fitness?
Aerobic endurance or fitness is the ability of the body to deliver and use oxygen, which is needed to provide energy. Another function of aerobic fitness is to improve the body's ability to remove carbon dioxide from the muscles so it can be expelled in the breath. If carbon dioxide builds up in the muscles, it makes the blood too acidic and leads to lactic acid, which is the main cause of fatigue. Increasing your aerobic fitness allows your body to be able to participate in activity for longer and maintain your skill level during a match.
Testing Aerobic Fitness
Getting an initial level of your aerobic fitness can show you where you need to improve and by how much. There are a few tests that can be done as a group to save time so the whole team can complete them at once. The multi-stage fitness tests involve running between two cones 20 m apart in time with a set of beeps which are played on a CD player. The time between the beeps decreases the longer the tests go on, and when you miss the cone three times, that is your score. Others are the 12-minute cooper run, which involves running around a 100 m square for the full 12 minutes and measuring the distance you ran in that time.