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4 Exercises to Help Reduce Knee Injuries this Netball Season

The knee has now surpassed the ankle as the most common injury sustained by netballers.  The most serious of these injuries are ruptures of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and this makes up almost 25% of all reported knee injuries.  

To combat the rise in ACL injuries and keep players on the court for longer, Netball Australia has developed a netball specific injury prevention program called The KNEE Program.  The KNEE program has been designed as a holistic warm up program to be practiced before every training session and on game day.   

The KNEE Program is a great resource for any coach or player and I want to take you through four of my favourite exercises.  These exercises will help to greatly reduce your risk of knee injury and improve your strength, speed and power on court.

    Exercise #1: Squat (2x12 repetitions)

    The squat forms the basic exercise on which the next three build on.  Starting with feet shoulder width apart, bend through the hips and knees as though you were going to sit backwards. 

    Technique Cues:

    • Bottom back, keeping the knees behind the toes
    • Knees wide, inline with your hips and feet – don’t let them drop in together!

    Exercise #2: Double Leg Jump and Land (2x10 repetitions)

    Progress the squat and make it a dynamic exercise. For take off focus on sitting backwards (squat position) then drive upwards from the hips and knees and spring off the balls of your feet.  Drive your arms up to give you extra power.  For landing focus on landing first on the balls of your feet, rock onto your heels. Bend your knees to help absorb the momentum.  Progress by increasing the height of your jump and reducing the land time between jumps.

    Technique Cues:

    • Sit backwards slightly prior to taking off
    • Land quietly
    • Keep the knees wide and do not let them turn inwards on landing

    Exercise #3: Singe Leg Jump and Land (2x5 repetitions)

    The next progression is to take the double leg landing and move onto single leg.  The same jumping principles apply from exercise #2.  Start standing on one foot, hop upwards and then land on the same leg.  The focus this time is to make sure that your control your hip and knee position while on one leg.

    Technique Cues:

    • Land on the ball of the foot, rock onto the foot
    • Do not let the knee turn in on landing
    • Do not let the hip drop on landing 

    Exercise #4: Slalom (2x5 repetitions)

    The last progression is to add diagonal movement to the single leg jump and land.  For this exercise you want to start on one leg, then jump diagonally forwards landing on the opposite leg.  Focus on all of the technique cues from the previous exercises.

    Technique Cues:

    • Sit backwards before taking off
    • Land quietly with the knee in line with the hip and foot
    • Do not let the knee turn in on landing

    To read more about the KNEE Program to incorporate it into your teams warm up, you can access it at https://knee.netball.com.au/.

    If you would like more information on what you can do to avoid knee injuries or to help manage any ongoing injuries, please give your experts a call on 9274 1482 to organize an appointment today!

    Reference: Netball Aus Coach Manual

    Midland Physiotherapist Susan Kingston

    Simone Moles

    Physiotherapist

    Simone’s passion for sports, especially netball lead her to a career in Physiotherapy.  Since joining the Midland Physiotherapy she has developed a real love for managing sports injuries, knee pain, and postural back and neck pain.  Her main goal is to help her clients become stronger and more active to assist in them returning to the things they love, whether that be gardening, sports, work, fishing or anything else, as quick as possible.  Simone has also completed extra studies in Clinical Pilates and takes Studio Pilates classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

    Outside of work, Simone spends most of her time coaching and playing netball at KDNA.  She also enjoys getting out into the sunshine with friends and her puppy Millie.

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