Hi guys, back again to chat about rehab and even more importantly PREHAB, and we will stick to our netball theme in light of the Diamonds stunning World Cup Victory last weekend.

2015 World Netball Cup Allphones Arena Gold Medal Game Australia v NZ Caitlin Bassett celebrating the win with teammate Sharni Layton. Picture: David Callow

2015 World Netball Cup
Allphones Arena
Gold Medal Game

Preventing injuries is of massive importance as it link directly to enjoyment of sport, and optimum performance.  Lets face it, we all want to get around the court like Paige Hadley or shoot like Caitlin Basset right?  Sitting on the sidelines nursing an injury takes you away from the sport you love, and away from the eyes of coaches and selectors alike.

Warming up and Stretching for Netball - NetballSmart - 2

Quite often we see resources that don’t address the specific factors that will minimise the risk of injury to our netballers!  Our A Step Ahead NetballSmart blog aims to overcome this by giving you guys a simple to understand, point by point action plan for injury prevention.
Warming Up and Stretching
Preparing the body for participation in sports by warming up, will enhance the maximal performance and reduce the risk of injury!  Its a sentence i often find myself repeating over and over again to my young patients.  The Netball World Cup was a great example for us as a practice, with the public being able to see first hand the amount of time the best teams in the world spend on warming up before games.
Warming up improves blood flow to the heart, increases the muscle temperature and makes muscles more pliable.
Cold or less pliable or elastic muscle works harder to accommodate a given load and will be more resistant to sudden stretch.  Less pliable muscle tissue is also more susceptible to overuse injuries.
Below we have come up with a simple to understand table to break down the different stages of warming up.
Example for Netball
Aerobic Exercise
Increase Body Temperature
2-3 Light Jogging the width of the court
Increase Elasticity of Tissue
Increase Joint Range of Motion
Dynamic Stretches for Leg Muscles
(see examples below)
Sport Specific Exercises
Prepare the body for the type of activity expected
Short Sprinting
Changes of Direction
Passing and Shooting drills
Right, so now we have established our table, what does it all mean?  Well, basically, the first column (component) is the breakdown of a typical warm up routine you can use before your saturday games.  Once we have established we need to break our warm down into three different parts, and you want to skip the detail, we can look across the table to the examples.
First we start with a jog across the width of the court 2-3 times.  We can then move into some dynamic stretches for the major legs muscles you will use for the game.
A good start is to warm up the Calf muscles, which are the big muscles at the back of the lower leg and then upwards  to the Hamstring muscles.  If you don’t know much about Dynamic stretching, see our short description below!
Dynamic stretching WARMING UP PRE EXERCISE
Dynamic stretches differ from the norm in that they stretch the body through movement. Instead of putting your body into a stretched position and keeping it there as the muscles relax gradually, you move quickly into and out of a position that stretches your muscles. 
Dynamic Calf stretches:
Get yourself into a classic push up position.  Then, hike your hips towards the ceiling or sky creating a V position with your body.  Keep your back as straight as possible.  
Place one foot over the back of the other ankle, and slowly but actively push your heel into the ground.  Then, push your ankle upwards going up onto your toes.  
Perform three sets of 10 repetitions per stretch for improved calf movement and flexibility.
Warming up and Stretching for Netball - NetballSmart - 3
Dynamic hamstring swings:
A two-part dynamic stretch for the hip flexors, hip extensors, hip adductors, and hip abductors
This involves gentle swings of the leg forwards and backwards gradually getting higher and higher each time. Around 10 to 15 swings on each leg should be enough. 
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We then want to move into some sort of sport specific movement, something that you will be doing regularly on the court.
We had the absolute privilege of watching the Diamonds take on Jamaica during pool play of the World cup thanks to Asics Australia.  It was really interesting to watch the girls going through there physical and sport specific warm ups.  These are generally done as a team, so your coach will want to have some input here.
I hope this blog has been informative, without being over the top with mumbo jumbo you don’t need.  That’s always the aim, to try and get the important information out there as efficiently as possible!
My next blog will be up shortly regarding cooling down and some specific things you can do!  Stay tuned for more editions of the A Step Ahead NetballSmart blog!
Aneesh Kesha
Part of the A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle care team
Warming up and Stretching for Netball - NetballSmart - 5