Congratulations on becoming a new coach!
At first it can feel overwhelming. You may feel like you’re in over your head. It’s normal to be nervous or worried that you won’t be good enough, that you might not be able to do the job well. If any of these feelings sound familiar, don’t worry – they’re completely normal!
Our New to Netball Coaching blog includes a series of articles that will walk through some key areas of coaching and provide tips to help you get off to a good start.
Essential Netball Skills
Netball is a great sport for players of all ages and skill levels. It involves a combination of speed, agility and quick thinking. Developing essential netball skills is important for coaches to consider when training their team.
In this article, we will focus on essential netball skills and strategies. These include:
- Movement and Footwork
- Ball Skills
- Attacking Skills
- Defending Skills
- Shooting Skills
Netball Australia provides the Netball Skills Development Framework which outlines the appropriate sequence of skills to teach players.
Movement and Footwork
Movement and footwork are essential elements of the game that all netball players must master in order to be successful. It is important to understand the fundamentals of movement and footwork so you can help your team refine these skills.
Movement refers to a player’s ability to move around the court with agility while maintaining balance. It includes running, jumping, pivoting and stopping quickly without losing momentum or control of the ball. Footwork involves learning how to use feet correctly when landing, passing, shooting or defending; as well as improving coordination in order for players to become faster and more accurate on court.
It is important incorporate training drills that teach balance, safe landing (on both feet and 1 foot), pivoting (inside direction and outward) as well as change of direction. Drills should be targeted specifically to the age or skill level of the team.
With practice, your team will soon be able to run plays quicker and smoother!
Another important area in which you should focus on is ball skills. The ability for your players to handle the ball correctly is important for their development and performance during in game play.
It’s important as a coach, to cover basic techniques of:
- Chest Passes
- Shoulder Passes
- Bounce Passes
- Lob or Overhead Pass,
All of which require practice and repetition. As their age and skill level improve, incorporate one handed ball control, focus on pass placement, fake passes and step around passing.
Understanding and developing attacking skills can help teams to be successful during netball games. Attacking skills are an essential part of a team’s strategy and will determine how well they can score goals.
Attacking skills involve learning how to move around the court quickly with agility in order to create space. Based on their age and skill level, focus on teaching players the basic principles and techniques of attacking, using:
- Straight leads
- Dodging – single and double
- Change of direction
- Holds and positioning
- Rolls – full and half
- Front cut
- Lead and drop
While also teaching them to be aware, where other teammates are moving on court so that they can take advantage of opportunities during a match.
Developing defending skills is just as important as any other area of the game.
Defending skills include defensive positioning, reading the opposition’s play, and counter-attack strategies. When teaching defensive skills, it’s good to start with one on one, shadow movement and hands over defence. Then move onto circle defence such as defending a shot, rebounding, defensive footwork and repositioning, as well as principles of zone and team defensive strategies.
With this in mind, coaches should also focus on teaching players how to read the court, think ahead of their opponents, and anticipate plays accordingly.
Shooting skills are an important part of netball coaching. With the correct technique and guidance, you can help players to develop the necessary shooting skills to become successful.
Key aspects of shooting should focus on shooting technique and accuracy, footwork, body positioning, shooter rotation and movement.
Use a variety of drills and activities as well as provide feedback on technique and execution. Practicing these drills regularly will help players improve their accuracy when passing or shooting from different positions and distances on court.
An effective team strategy starts with developing a cohesive unit that can work together to achieve a common goal.
When developing both individual and group strategies, it’s important to understand the various strategies involved in netball coaching and team management. These may include:
- Assigning roles to each player
- Teaching players who should take a Free Pass or Throw In
- Practice centre pass options and set plays
- Reduce or limit errors
- Trial defensive combinations or tactics
It’s helpful to highlight or create clear objectives ahead of every game.
Finally, Netball is a face paced sport.
Having good physical fitness is also crucial in netball! Players must have the endurance to keep up with the pace of the game, while being able to move quickly around the court.
Introducing agility drills can help improve players’ overall fitness, coordination and reaction time while they are playing.
When selecting training drills, it’s good to incorporate some that also teach teamwork and communication skills, since these are essential components in any netball match.
We are blessed with an abundance of netball drills and resources available online. (Both free and paid!)
Enjoy your season!