HEALTHAGENDA

Netball

What are the benefits of playing netball?


The health benefits of netball include fitness and bone strength, but the social and wellbeing benefits are also significant. Here’s why you should try playing netball.

Carmel Sparke
January 2020

Netball was once a chilly, early Saturday morning affair, with not a bloke in sight. These days box pleats have been replaced by Lycra, and the latest stats show one in 10 netballers is male. You can play in mixed teams, at night, indoors, in social games, corporate events and club competitions. New formats like the intense five-a-side version or the more moderately paced Walking Netball have also taken off.

If you’re looking for a fun way to build fitness while you socialise, netball could be your game.

“Netball’s a great sport to take up or continue to play, as it offers a broad range of health benefits,” says Alanna Antcliff, head physiotherapist for Australia’s national team, the Diamonds. “It works on fitness, endurance and strength. You’re also forming new friendships, building confidence, and sharpening attention.”

HCF is a proud partner of Netball Australia, supporting more than one million players across the country, from grassroots to elite levels. We meet top netballers and Aussies across the country who love the game at our HCF Netball Hub

What are the benefits of netball?

Most would be familiar with the fast-paced passing game, which has seven team members on court, playing four quarters of 15 minutes each, in positions such as goal attack, centre and goal defence.

“Physically there are benefits to musculoskeletal health, bone density, cardio fitness, balance and coordination – not to mention cognitive stimulation and teamwork,” Alanna explains.

Netball is a cardio workout

Elite players cover between 2.3 and 6km over the course of a game, depending on their position, Alanna says. Weekend warriors may not be in that league, but these stats show netball is an aerobic workout.

“That’s equivalent to travelling about 1-2 lengths of the netball court every minute for 60 minutes, which is an excellent platform for fitness and endurance,” she says.

Agility through skills

Netball involves lots of jumping, landing, changing of direction and footwork, along with executing precise skills, which helps with strength and agility, says Alanna.

All that jumping, stopping and landing not only builds muscle but makes bones stronger, too. In fact, Osteoporosis Australia ranks netball as one of the best activities for increasing bone density. Alanna also points to a study showing bone density in women aged 42-50 was greater among those who played netball than those who swam instead.

Team sport benefits

Being a team sport, there are added positive social elements involved in taking part, along with the physical upsides of exercise. “There’s a strong association between team-sport participation such as netball, and life satisfaction and psychosocial health,” says Alanna.

A 2013 Australian study showed playing in team sports such as netball is linked with better health outcomes compared to individual exercise, due to the social nature of the activity.

How to join a netball club

A good starting point is to call your local netball club or association, which can point you in the direction of a club-based team or let you know about the various competitions in your area.

Netball Australia has links to associations in all states and territories.

Want even faster paced netball? Check out the Fast5 Netball comps taking off – these are particular popular with men. Or if a joint-friendly version appeals, look into Walking Netball for over 55s. Find details about all these comps and other aspects of the game at Netball Australia’s Play Netball website.

You can also become involved in the sport from the sidelines as a coach, manager or administrator; Netball Australia has information on the steps to take. So for a fun way to boost stamina, strength, physical confidence and friendships, consider donning the bib – no pleated skirts required.

At HCF we’re united by Uncommon Care and united by netball. To stay on the ball with the latest netball tips, tricks, news and competitions, sign up for our free monthly netball newsletter.

STAY ON TOP OF THE LATEST NETBALL NEWS AND COMPETITIONS

Can’t get enough netball? Be on the ball of the latest netball competitions, news and stories at our online Netball Hub

Why choose HCF?

How to be a good netball coach: From regular dad to drills hero

Meet Wayne; the sport-loving WA dad who became a netball coach and courtside hero.

Group fitness gains: the benefits of working out with friends

Hitting your exercise goals can be tough when you go it alone but research shows buddying up could bring big benefits.

The Benefits of Strength Training: Gym machines versus free weights

Should you use free weights or weight machines? We weigh up the options.

How to reduce your risk of osteoporosis

The bone disease osteoporosis is common in women and men over 50. Here are some simple tips to keep your bones strong.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This communication contains information which is copyright to The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Limited (HCF). It should not be copied, disclosed or distributed without the authority of HCF. Except as required by law, HCF does not represent, warrant and/or guarantee that this communication is free from errors, virus, interception or interference. All reasonable efforts have been taken to ensure the accuracy of material contained on this website. It’s not intended that this website be comprehensive or render advice. HCF members should rely on authoritative advice they seek from qualified practitioners in the health and medical fields as the information provided on this website is general information only and may not be suitable to individual circumstances or health needs. Please check with your health professional before making any dietary, medical or other health decisions as a result of reading this website.