Learning how rest and recovery make top netballers

Silver Fern Maddy Gordon

Silver Fern Maddy Gordon used to train a lot – but now she knows that rest and recovery are also key to winning performances.

“I pride myself on being fit and I love pushing myself,” says 21-year-old Silver Fern Maddy Gordon.

Gordon has learnt a lot in her young professional career. She used to get in trouble for overtraining because she’d always go for a run on her days off.

These days she talks to her strength and conditioning coach Adam Allen and physio Nikki Lynch to get the thumbs up before more exercise.

“I love it when I get the all clear for a run. It’s good for my soul,” she says.  

“But I’ve also learnt the importance of rest and recovery. I make sure I’m not overdoing it so when it comes to time to perform, I am ready.”

She says becoming Silver Fern No 177 was a surreal feeling.

“It came around much sooner than I expected. I didn’t think I would be this young,” she says.  “I remember just standing out on court and it dawned on me that I was achieving a lifetime goal. It was so exciting and I want to build on that.”


The more you can invest in your body the better you will be in the long term.
- Silver Fern Maddy Gordon

NetballSmart Director Sharon Kearney says Maddy is one of the brightest prospects in New Zealand.

“Maddy moves well, hard and fast and does this repeatedly during a game – a bit like a terrier, I suppose, and to do that Maddy needs to be strong, athletic, and fit,” says Sharon, who was the physio for the Silver Ferns for 16 years.

“Maddy likes to challenge herself. She understands that to play the game she wants to and keep injury free she needs to be able to cope with the demands of the game and by covering all elements of fitness, strength, core and recovery, she’s able to achieve this.”

Maddy says a big part of her success has been staying injury free. She is a big believer in the ACC NetballSmart warm up which her team, the Pulse, do every time they play and train.

“NetballSmart is ideal because it incorporates all of the movements we do in the game. We do a lot of jumping and landing and the prop and stick movements, as well as stopping, which gets us game ready.”

Impact of NetballSmart

She says the increased investment of ACC into Injury Prevention Programme NetballSmart - $3.6m over the next three years – is great for the game and ensures the wellbeing of netballers all over New Zealand.

A recent 10-year nationwide review of netball injuries revealed a 120 percent increase in the number of 15 to 19-year-old girls having Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery.

The impact of NetballSmart has shown a steady decline in the rate of ACL injuries and overall a decrease in rate of all injuries in netball since 2014.

“NetballSmart is so important for our young players,” Maddy says.  

“We need to bed in these good habits for young players early in their development. When I was young, I just wanted to go out and play.

“But as I have got older I have realised how important it is to look after your body. I know I need to be fit, strong, move and land well, and recover fully. I have not had any major injuries and I put that down to being NetballSmart. The more you can invest in your body the better you will be in the long term.”

More information

NetballSmart is injury prevention and performance enhancement programme made up of six principles:

  1. Smart Preparation
  2. Dynamic Warm-Up, Cool Down and Recovery
  3. Smart Training
  4. Smart Movement
  5. Smart Player Wellbeing/Welfare
  6. Smart Injury Management


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