Starting Young – Netball Drills for Children
Getting your children involved in sports at a young age is a great way to get them interested in keeping fit and healthy throughout their adult lives. Depending on how young your children are, their bodies will be still developing, so an adult training regime will not only exhaust them, it could also cause some damage.
Essential skills in netball are foot speed and passing speed and accuracy. Your basic training drills should focus on honing these skills.
Warm up and stretch
As with any physical activity, a warm up and stretch is imperative to get blood circulating and keep the body limber. Start with a few laps of the court. Nothing too strenuous, what you’re looking for here is just enough to get a sheen of sweat. Dynamic stretching is a great way of combining stretching with a warm up. These are stretches that are combined with movement, such as lunges, hamstring walks, arm swings, squats and torso twists. Have your kids complete a few sets of these. The great thing about using these exercise with kids is that, frankly, they look silly and your kids will enjoy them all the more.
Playing games are easy netball drills that focus on particular skills are a great way to both hone those skills and improve team spirit. A good example is netball tag. Divide your team into two. One team has the ball and their objective is to ‘tag’ the opposing team members by touching them with the netball. The ball cannot be thrown. This game will improve focus and maneuverability on the court.
Being able to sprint short distances, land safely and pivot on the spot are all essential footwork exercises for netball and your drills need to reflect this need. Here are a couple of drills to try out:
- Zig zag drills. Players run from marker to marker (usually cones) laid out in a zig zag pattern. This drill focuses on drastic changes in direction.
- Pivoting. Have your kids line up a reasonable width apart. Have a couple of balls passed along the line so kids can practice catching and throwing to and from one another whilst pivoting on one foot.
Upper body strength is essential in netball. Your children will need both accuracy and speed from their arms. Positioning their hands properly on the ball is the first step. Make their thumbs touch and their hands will form a W behind the ball this is an easy way to illustrate the right way to hold a ball.
- Pass and catch. Pair up your children and have them passing and catching the ball to one another. Once an arbitrary number has been reached without dropping the ball, get them to step back. This will promote power and accuracy.
Of course, combining footwork and ballwork is the next step, and an ideal way to illustrate the rule of not being able to carry the ball once you’ve caught it.
Netball drills for children should be fun and covering the basic skills. Once they’ve mastered these drills, moving on to more complicated training regimes will be a piece of cake.
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