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It’s crazy to think how fast the season has gone, it only feels like yesterday when the team started their pre-season training in March.

Reflecting back on how the season has gone, as a strength and conditioning coach, I feel it has been a success! Why? Not only has the team become stronger and fitter throughout the season but there have been no major injuries on the court as well.

I remember meeting with Bec and Kim early in January when I was first asked to be the S & C coach again. Last year was a lot of fun and I felt I further developed my knowledge on netball specific strength and conditioning. So, I could not say no to the offer again. However, this time Kim and Bec asked to focus on conditioning mixed with strength.

Originally, I broke down the entire season into five different blocks. These were, transition one, preparation, transition two, competition and transition three. However, that was the easy part. The hard part was actually planning each individual session that will suit each block. I thought this would be easy, but I was mistaken. There is a lot of literature and information on how to program for just strength or conditioning sessions but not both in one session, this meant I had to be creative!

As I said before, strength, fitness and injury prevention were the key aspects I wanted to focus on this year. With this in mind, I still implemented strength and conditioning philosophies such as variety, overload, specificity, light weeks, and heavy weeks to make sure the team was progressing week by week.

On top off all of this, I also had to find a way to implement the conditioning component into the sessions. Netball is a sport that I believe predominately uses the anaerobic system. In each game the girls are exposed to a variety of explosive movements such as jumping, catching, shooting, change of direction, landing and sprinting. However, the aerobic system is still required to help the girls maintain the intensity and also help recover between efforts. 

At the start of the season, the sessions mainly focused on building an aerobic base for the girls while developing general full body strength. Once the general phase came to end and the competition season started, the main focus was building and maintaining explosive power while increasing netball specific strength as well as injury prevention throughout the competition season. Furthermore, the sessions were designed to test the girl’s strength and coordination under fatigue and give a stimulus to what they will feel on the court.

Overall, I believe the change of program did work for the girls involved. It was very different to the last couple of years that I have worked with the Panthers. In the first year, I was still developing my knowledge in strength and conditioning and I was trying new things every week. In the 2nd year, I completed my level 1 strength and conditioning course through ASCA and started my university degree. I felt like I was more prepared and my knowledge continued to grow, therefore the training was more structured week by week. Though, this year I attended my level 2 strength and conditioning course, learnt a lot from other coaches and presenters, and I’ve nearly finished my degree. My knowledge about the human body and exercise grown a lot more since I’ve first started with the panthers and this has helped me create new ways to train the team.

Working with the Panthers is always fun, especially when you can see the improvement on and off the court. The experience and people I have met over the years has been invaluable. Not only has it helped me grow, but it has help with the growth of my business. Each season has increased my knowledge in strength and conditioning and I’m looking forward too many more years of learning, implementing and helping the Panthers with their strength and conditioning requirements.

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