The action has been coming thick and fast in the 2023 Varsity Netball tournament, with players exposed to high-intensity matches. The last of the three bumper weekends take place in Stellenbosch on Sunday and Monday before things move to the semi-finals.
Havillan Abrahams, the physical conditioner of defending champions Maties, talked to Varsity Netball to shed some light on what a conditioner does. He has worked with rugby (15s and 7s) as well as athletics and believes each sport has its different challenges and demands.
He says netball is a challenging sport
"On a performance level, the physical demands are subjective and position-specific. Having exposure to competition before Varsity Netball is very important as I believe it to be the most challenging competition at this level in South Africa.
"The running and court conditioning demand is unique … not only to prepare the athlete but most importantly to reduce the risk of injury.
"Having scientific data from previous competition and a monitoring system in place always assists the process to be able to prepare well."
Abrahams says in any sport there is a challenge in regards to travelling more often and in Varsity Netball it is no different.
"Three consecutive matches at any level is a challenge, with many challenges travelling with Varsity Netball, the hardest, in my opinion, is recovery.
“My number one goal is the prevention of injury with the preparations before the competition. This includes game readiness, activation, nutrition and fluid intake, working alongside physiotherapy, load monitoring as well and athlete readiness feedback."
He says playing at home this week may result in lower physical demand on the ladies but not affect the requirements in terms of expectations.
"There is always pressure to perform at this level at all our major competitions, with that said, I trust and believe in the program and the environment we as Maties management have created to continue being successful.”
by Ayanda Frances Felem