The final whistle goes. You are awarded a penalty. If you score the goal, England win their first ever gold medal. Could you do it?
Helen Housby sinking England’s winning goal was quite rightly voted the best sporting moment of the year – but it’s not an accident that she put the shot away under extreme pressure. It’s the result of great technique and thousands of hours of practice. Here are some of our top tips to
1) Get the basics right
If you’re new to shooting, check out this video featuring England’s Jo Harten – if you can get these basics right it’ll really help you in your shooting career. If you’re not sure whether you’re doing it right, ask a coach/friend to watch you or film yourself and play it back.
2) Practice lots
— Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) April 3, 2016
In this article, Jo Harten talks about how she puts up 1000 shots a week, and so should you. Kidding – you obviously don’t have to do this many, but the more you practice, the more accurate you’ll become. Try doing a couple of sessions each week if possible.
3) Head to your local courts
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Lots of London courts are open and empty at the weekends (I love the Highbury Fields ones for their great netball posts and Instagrammability). You could also take a ball along to netball practice early to take advantage of the free court.
4) Buy a post
If you’re lucky enough to have garden space, you could buy a post from Netball UK or Argos and get some shots in every day.
5) Shoot from different zones of the circle
Everyone has an area they prefer to shoot from, but in a game situation you’ll need to score from all over the circle. Make sure to practice shooting from directly under the post, from in front of the post (always seems to be hardest) and from far away.
6) Practice on one foot
Check out this video of Jo Harten demoing the side step and back step. Balance and core stability are important here – the more you practice, the more natural it will feel when you have to do it in a game. You can also try taking a step or jump towards the post, as you might do in a penalty shot situation.
7) Practice when you’re tired
It’s important for you to be able to shoot as well at the end of the game as at the start, so practice keeping up the accuracy when your arms are tired. Good opportunities are at the end of a training session or after you’ve already put up lots of shots.
8) Practice getting the rebounds
If you can get the rebound when you miss, you’ll have loads more chances to shoot. You could put up some shots and try catching the rebound before the ball hits the floor.
9) Practice under pressure
Sink shots under pressure like Helen Housby by setting yourself targets – try to get 10 on the go or do a forfeit (push ups, anyone?)
10) Make it fun
You should be practicing because you enjoy it, so make it into a game with yourself or whoever’s with you. Try seeing how many shots you can get in a row before you miss and then try and beat your own record.