Pre Season Training Programs Designing a Netball Preseason Training Program

Netball preseason training can start any time of year, depending on where you are in the world. In the past, it was thought preseason training should include large amounts of long distance running. Recently however, elite clubs have found it's more beneficial to concentrate on aerobic and anaerobic cardiovascular interval training to build cardiovascular fitness, while focusing on netball-specific cardio requirements such as repeat effort running to improve lactate systems. More about this later.

Skill drills should be dispersed amongst the cardio activity drills. There will generally also be a focus on creating a strong core and strengthening injury-prone areas for players with a history of specific types of injuries.

Your netball preseason program should include - at minimum - some basic fitness testing, ball work, repeat effort running, core strengthening, and adequate recovery.

Fitness Testing


Fitness testing helps coaches determine the amount of additional work individual players must do to bring them to the desired level of fitness to run out a full game of netball. At elite level (Olympics), fitness testing would include a mid-distance time trial (3km), weight lifting tests, skin fold tests, beep tests and personal diaries.

At amateur level, skinfold and beep tests are simple ways to determine body fat percentage and cardio fitness. The timing should be:

  • Just prior to a seasonal break.
  • When pre-season commences.

Designing an netball Preseason Training Program


Main group Sessions

Should always include the items in bold, plus 1 or 2 non-bold items below. Alternate ball work with body work to practice skills at varying levels of fatigue. Make sure to vary the content of sessions to keep them interesting.

  • Warm Up
  • Shuttle runs
  • Boxing circuits
  • Squats and lunges
  • Ball work
  • Repeat effort running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Core strengthening
  • Warm-down and recovery

Away-from-group Sessions

For individuals or small groups

  • Warm Up
  • Weights
  • Repeat effort running
  • Core Training

Repeat Effort Running


The pattern of high intensity sprinting, slowing to a jog, returning to a sprint, and so on. The sprinting period should be varied to simulate the length of sustained effort required by a player.

The body has three main energy systems - an aerobic system, an anaerobic system and a lactate system.

  • The anaerobic system : Lasts around 5-10 seconds before depleting but produces the most power
  • The lactate system: Lasts around 50-90 seconds but produces less power than the anaerobic system.
  • The aerobic system: Last over a prolonged period of time, producing the least power.

Repeat effort running enacts the "lactate" energy system, reproducing the kind of effort required during a game.

Repeat effort running drills

Shuttle Run Race

Form even teams. Make a line for each spanning the entire length of the court. Have stations on just the transverse lines (easier), or add additional stations as per diagram to really increase the fitness requirement. Players must sprint to the first cone (1), touch it, and sprint back to the starting cone on the baseline. All players in the team repeat this. Each subsequent turn, increase the number of cones players must touch by 1. Players sprint to each station in order and back, e.g, cone (1), return, cone (2), return.


Players line up along baseline and need a 1.5m circle of space to either side. Form 2 lines if too tight a squeeze. On 'go!', players run 5m forward. The running component is as follows:- - Defensive third - 50% pace - Low jump on the spot, and then step back+left - Centre-court - 75% pace - Medium jump on the spot, then step back+right - Goal third - 100% pace - High jump and step forward+right, then another high jump and step forward+left to return to the original spot.


Pair-up with someone around the same stature and elect who will start as tagger (A) and dodger (B). Assign 1/6 of court space. Players face one another, reach out and touch fingers - this is how far to stand apart by default. (A) and (B) move around the court like boxers squaring off in the ring. At any time (A) can attempt to tag (B)'s leg. (B) uses fast footwork and evasive action to avoid being tagged. (B) should very watchful of (A)'s leg shaping into a lunging position (B) cannot 'swat' away the arm, only use footwork to avoid (A) should remain upright to avoid head collisions.

Fun lactate system drills


Cone fLIP

This drill requires flat (non-pointy) cones. Two teams start on opposite sides of either a full court with no net, or half a court. Larger distance for harder workload. Distribute approximately 1 cone for every player inside the square, 50% of the cones upright and 50% upside down. On start, teams enter the playing arena. The red team must turn the upside-down cones upright, and can shephard players from the opposite team from turning over upright cones. Opposite for the other team who turns cones upside-down. After 90 seconds stop, count the cones positions to declare a winner.

Peg Grab

This drills requires 3 or 4 pegs per player. Distribute these to players who get a teammate to peg them onto their back near their shoulders. Players start by positioning themself somewhere inside a 30x30m square. On start, players must try to steal pegs from other players, whilst avoiding their pegs being stolen. If a player steals a peg, they peg it to the front of their top. These pegs cannot be taken by others. The exercise ends when all pegs have been taken from all players backs. Once a player has all pegs stolen, they must leave the playing arena. The player/s who've stolen the most pegs win.

Ball Work


Sharpen skills as much as possible during the preseason by doing short, sharp drills. Players should touch the as much as possible during the preseason to minimize skills errors in game one.

Don’t be afraid to amend our drills to your satisfaction. A lot of our drills can be progressed or edited to your teams needs. You could add your own competitive edge to most drills. No matter how simple the drill looks, there are always ways of testing your team with it.

Below are the pick of drills for pre-season training on the website.

  • arrow_nextNext
  • Boxing Circuits, Squats, Lunges and Burpees, Leg Exercises


Netball Coach TV has a huge library of netball drills for both seniors and juniors by experienced coaches.

Share with players, supporters and assistants. Send session plans, drills, fixtures, results and match summaries.

Record your netball training sessions including the drills used. Rate drills to help remember what's worthy of doing again.


Pro Session

Generate full netball training programs with a mouse click. Choose your focus areas and session plans are tailored to match..


Full access to your fixture, results, starting line-ups, goalshooters and vote winners. Private, cloud storage of vote winners.


Learn 140 stretching positions. Stretches have a video, diagram and the correct technique explained.
Join Now to Access all our Netball Coaching Resources