Netball Screening Results explained

Why we do a screening

In netball, it is very important to do thorough health and physical check-ups to make sure players are ready and healthy for the game. These screenings help us understand players’ health, spot any issues, and know how likely they are to get hurt. Plus, they give us tips to improve performance and avoid injuries.

Knowing a player’s past injuries is key. It helps us see what kind of injuries they might be prone to. With this info, we can create plans to stop injuries and help them get back to playing if they do get hurt. We’re talking about common netball injuries like twisted ankles, sore knees, and muscle strains (and of course the more significant knee injuries as well).

Checking how flexible players are is also a big deal. We look at how well their joints can move. Tests like checking hip and hamstring flexibility help us find out if there are any nerve issues or problems with joint movement.

We also test how strong players’ muscles are. This helps us see if one side is weaker than the other or if there are any lingering problems from past injuries. Core strength, especially, is important for staying balanced and strong on the court.

By doing these thorough check-ups, we can keep netballers safe and performing their best. It’s all about making sure they can enjoy the game and stay healthy for the long run.

Tests explained

RANGE OF MOTION: 

Assessing the available range of movement at a joint. These tests identify any flexibility concerns related to your quadriceps and hip flexors, with differences between sides or reduced range of motion resulting in limits to optimal movement. 

Hip Flexor Length: The ability for the leg to go behind the body (hip extension). This can have impacts related to the lumbar spine, hips, knees and ability to sprint or jump.

Thoracic rotation: The ability for the trunk to rotate left and right. This is valuable in supporting your arm movement for throwing or reaching overhead.

Combined Extension: Is a shoulder and thoracic range of motion test. Better scores means you are maximising your reach capabilities (handy for a defender)!

Ankle Range (Knee-to-wall): Is used to assess the dorsiflexion range of movement (the amount of ankle bend) at the ankle joint. This is a common test to monitor the recovery from ankle and other lower limb injuries (calf muscle, overuse, knee injuries and more.

STRENGTH TESTS: 

Muscle strength is defined as the ability of a muscle to contract and produce maximum force in a single effort or in repeated repetitions. Strength tests help to identify strength differences between sides in the presence or absence of injury. After injury, muscle weakness is a common feature and can affect sporting function. We can compare your results between limbs and provide feedback that compares you to normative data from athletes of similar age and gender.

Abdominal Strength: Optimizes the transfer and overall control of motion and force to the limbs e.g. legs, feet, arms and hands. An unstable trunk or foundation can reduce the dynamic strength production, influencing movement during a play in training or competition.

Hip Abduction: Moving the legs away from the midline is abduction. Hip abduction strength is an important factor in hip, knee and ankle injury prevention. It is also often weaker when tested in people suffering from pain in their knee.

Hip Adduction: Moving the legs together towards the midline is adduction. Hip adduction strength is an important factor in potential groin-related problems.

The Hip Abd/Add Ratio: Is adductor relative to abductor strength and is an indicator of potential risk of sustaining an adductor strain, groin pain or hip related pain. This information helps identify who may benefit from a strengthening intervention.

Calf Raises: The heel-rise test is used to assess the strength and endurance of the plantar flexors. ‘Calf muscle strains’ are a common running injury, with greater than 50% of running force propulsion generated from ‘below the knee’ plantar flexor musculature. Over 30 calf raises (good height and form) is considered somewhat protective for ankle and foot problems in athletes that jump a lot!

FUNCTIONAL TESTS: Functional movements are based on relatively fast and forceful muscle contraction with limited time for force production/execution. Tests of neuromuscular function are based on muscle activation patterns that closely correspond to a number of sports-related performance movements.

Single Leg Squat: Illustrates control of the ankle, knee, hip, and trunk on a single leg. This offers insight into dynamic control in single leg tasks like running, and take-off and landing movement strategies.

LESS Score: The Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) is a tool used to assess the jump-landing biomechanics. It is used to identify the risk of non-contact injuries during jumping and landing movements.

Single Leg Jump: Hop tests can be used for return to sport decision-making. It is not just about the distance hopped, but also about the quality of the movement of the ankle, knee, hip joints and trunk.

Single Leg Jump Height: As above, but jumping for height not distance.

Triple cross-over hop: Assesses single-leg hop endurance and side to side control.

SEBT: The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is a dynamic test that requires strength, flexibility, and proprioception. It is a measure of dynamic balance that provides a significant challenge to athletes. The goal of the SEBT is to maintain a single leg stance on one leg while reaching as far as possible with the opposite leg. It has demonstrated reliable results on its ability to predict lower extremity injury, particularly when the forward reach difference is more than 4cm.

  • Forward reach difference: Left versus right difference. More than 4cm starts to increase lower limb injury risk (for either leg, not necessarily the ‘weaker’ one).
  • Left or Right Ratio: This score is calculated as the average of all distances on one leg (forward and both reverse movements), divided by the length. A ratio that is greater than 0.05 (or 5%) indicates deficiencies in movement.
  • Symmetry left to right: This is the simple left versus right symmetry taken from the above ratio calculation. Symmetry scores within 5% are generally considered ideal.