As the world’s best netballers turn their attention to the Fast5 Netball World Series, a sport scientist has revealed the intense physical demands the dynamic format places on their bodies.
And it’s the goal attacks and goal defences who feel it the most according to Netball Australia performance science and support manager Laura Piromalli.
Data collected from past campaigns show the effect playing without the wings has on their teammates.
With no wing attack to share the load at the centre pass, a goal attack in Fast5 must fill the role of two players and is likely to have much less recovery time.
In traditional netball, a goaler would typically expect a work/rest recovery ratio of 1:4, or four seconds rest for every second run. Compare that to five-a-side where the ratio could be as demanding as 1:2 or 1:1.
“It can be an incredible workrate,” Piromalli said.
“The quarters are reduced but they’re required to be all out for two or three minutes before they’re rotated.”
That means plenty of intense running for goalers Sophie Garbin (Australia), Ameliaranne Ekenasio (New Zealand) and others when the series begins in Melbourne on October 27.
Circle defenders will endure a similar workload and intensity as they trail their opponents at centre passes and into shooting range.
The data was collected using an indoor tracking system which, like GPS, records the speeds and running lines of the players during games.
While the trends vary depending on the tactics used, the data is most revealing.
It shows the constant changes in direction, and the longer leads of goalers as they gallop further down the court to present themselves as targets.
The two and three-point goals, in turn, also have consequences.
More long-range shots create extra rebounding opportunities, which means the shooters and defenders leap more.
“A world class shooter is about 50 per cent accurate from that distance, and that shows in the players jumping more,” Piromalli said.
The Australian team, coached by Stacey Marinkovich, will meet for a short training camp next week ahead of the series.
“They’ll be ready to rock n roll,” Piromalli said.