How to play netball safely in the summer

Netball is no longer considered just a winter sport, you can enjoy the physical and social benefits of netball all year round. Here are some tips for playing netball during the warmer months…

We get it! Netball is lots of fun and you want to be able to play it all year round. Well, don’t go hanging up your netball bib just yet. There are more summer competitions popping up across the country, as well as a range of benefits to playing summertime netball too. In this article, we look at some key ways you can navigate and enjoy netball during summer.

Plan to play netball around the sun

A huge benefit of summer netball is avoiding icy-cold winter mornings and lugging around layers of clothing. However, the flip side is you need to be more wary of the sun.

If you can, schedule your netball training sessions or games for first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the sun when it’s at its strongest. And keep in mind, even if the day is overcast the UV rays could still be high.

Slip, slop, slap, slide this summer

SunSmart Australia recommends netballers adopt the slip, slop, slap, slide philosophy - both while on the court and sitting on the sidelines. “Netball uniforms don't typically provide much coverage so it's important to slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to any exposed skin at least 20 minutes before play starts. Look for a dry touch or active formula that won’t be greasy for easy ball handling.”

When off the court, players can slip on a lightweight shirt that covers all their arms, slap on a hat and slide on some sunnies.

This article on 5 sun safety myths also recommends that people apply their sunscreen every 2 hours – even if it claims 4 hours of water-resistance. This is especially the case if you’re sweating and rubbing down with hand-towels.

Stay hydrated during sports is crucial in summer

Because netball is a high-intensity aerobic game, players need to prioritise their hydration. And even if you’re playing indoors, doesn’t mean you’re off the water-drinking hook. According to a Sports Dietitian Australia article for netballers, “Hot playing conditions will result in noticeably high body fluid losses; however, players should also be aware that they can still lose significant amounts of body fluids when playing in air-conditioned venues.”

Try not to just guzzle down water during game time. Netballers should be adequately hydrated in the lead up to a game. Another tip is to have a glass of water with every meal or snack.

Do you struggle to find water appetising? Our article, Is there more to hydration than drinking water?, suggests some fluid alternatives that will keep you hydrated. Some examples of drinks that help with hydration include sports drinks, and fruit or vegie smoothies.

Perks of playing netball in summer

There really are some fantastic benefits to playing netball in summer as this HCF blog How to exercise safely in heat explains, “One study at the University of Oregon found that athletes who trained in hot weather were much better prepared and fitter when it came to winter competition."  You may not have to warm up your muscles for as long as you would in winter thanks to the hotter weather. And best of all, you get to be active and social with your netball mates all year round.

So beat the heat, throw on your netball shoes and get among the sunshine because it’s time to enjoy summertime netball!

There are many ways to play netball. You can do it competitively or socially, and at any age. Find your way to play on Netball Australia's Play Netball website

Words by Emma Salkild
First published Oct 2019


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