Everything you need to know about playing netball

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Netball is a sport that’s predominantly played among the Commonwealth nations. The basic concept of the game is one team is pitted against others with seven players each, amounting to a total of 14 players on the court at a given time. The primary objective of the game is to aim at scoring goals from a designated area by throwing a ball into a ring, which is 3.05 m. (10 ft high) Generally, the games are played on a rectangular court, which has raised goal rings at either end of the court. The dimensions of the court traditionally are 30.5 metres (100 ft) long and 15.25 metres (50 ft) wide.

Now, the court is further sub-divided into 3 main sections, which have a significant effect on the players’ movements. The sections, respectively, are known as two-third goals and centre/middle field. A traditional netball game is played with 1 court, two ring posts, and 1 ball. For official matches, it’s required for the players to wear regulation uniforms. Still, in more unorthodox netball games, players tend to wear whatever they’re comfortable with and need as less equipment as possible.

General Netball Infomation

The seven players from a team and are given pre-meditated positions (the game can also be played with a minimum of 5 players) that also doubles up as their role within the team. The objective of the game is to score more points than the opposition. Traditionally, the duration of a netball game is 60 minutes. It’s further divided into 4 equal quarters, making it 15 minutes per quarter. Between the 1st and 2nd quarters and between the 3rd and 4th quarters, there’s a gap of 3 minutes. While between the 2nd and 3rd quarters, there’s a gap of 5 minutes. Even though the traditional game lasts for 60 minutes, to keep the game alive to the modern era, there also many variations of the game continuously evolving. It involves slightly tweaking certain aspects of the game such as duration/number of players involved, etc. to keep the game alive and make it far more appealing to a broader audience worldwide.

There’s a referee/umpire who monitors, approves the game, and they’re also given the responsibility to call time. Whenever they exercise their right to do, the game is stopped by the timekeeper, and once the umpire calls time again, play resumes. For injury purposes, a maximum of only two minutes is allowed throughout the game.

Objectives in Netball

To score a goal in netball, you need to shoot the ball from the opposite team’s circle inside their goal. One point is equal to one goal. Only the Goal Attack (GA) and the Goal Shooter (GS) are allowed to score a goal for their team, and while doing so, they must remain within the confines of the circle while attempting to score. The team that wins the most points at the end of the 4th quarter collectively wins the game. In each goal third, there’s a semicircle which is more profoundly known as the shooting/goal circle. In the 1st quarter, each team is given a goal third. Hypothetically if Team A and Team B are playing a netball game, Team A will defend its goal third while attempting to score in Team B goal’s third; the reverse will be applicable for Team B as well. At the end of each quarter, the teams will switch their goal thirds.

Netball is a game that relies heavily on hard work, player awareness, but most importantly, teamwork. The entire purpose around scoring a goal relies on each player passing the ball right from the back to the front through various strategies to achieve the result, i.e., scoring as many goals as possible in an attempt to outscore the opposition.

Every player on a netball court is assigned to a specific responsibility based on the position they’re given on a court. Players are only allowed to take one step before they pass the ball. Once a player catches the ball, that player only is allowed up to 3 seconds to attempt to pass it to a fellow player. If a player is unsuccessful in doing so, the penalty results in a free pass to the opposition – where the opposition team gets a shot at taking a pass from the same spot where the penalty took place.

From here on, the opposition then takes a shot to try and intercept a pass to stop the attacking team from scoring a point. The rule requires that the defensive player should, at a minimum, be three feet away from the player with the ball to intercept the pass. If the defensive player breaks this rule, the opposition team then gets a free pass at the spot where the defensive player infringed.

Let’s now take a look at some of the infringements that exist within the game. There are two kinds of infringements, minor and major.

Netball Rules

Major Netball Infringements

A netball player is not allowed to make any physical contact with each other on the court.

Players are allowed to mark other players during play even whey they don’t have the ball. Although, any physical contact will be deemed a foul and a penalty pass will be given to the opposition.

Any accidental contact also will not be tolerated inside the court and will result in a penalty pass if found guilty of it.

Minor Netball Infringements

Ball control

When a player gets a pass, they are neither allowed to run or dribble with the ball.

For a player attempting to gain control of the ball, he/she can either bat or bounce the ball only once and are not allowed to do it more than once. It’s also considered against the rules to attempt to push the ball in the air even before bouncing or batting it.

To throw a ball, a player has to be compulsorily standing in a stationary position.

The three-second rule in Netball

The maximum time that a player is given to attempt a pass after catching hold of the ball is just three seconds. It’s done so that the game moves at a fast pace.

Space rule in Netball game

The players of the team must allow enough space between themselves while passing so that an opponent is presented the opportunity to attempt and intercept while moving.

Footwork in Netball

Footwork in Netball is exceptionally crucial. It’s as essential as teamwork as the co-ordination between the legs is detrimental towards achieving the end target of scoring through the goalposts.

When a player holds or catches the ball while having only one foot on the ground, it’s called the landing foot. From there on, it presents several opportunities to score a point:

  1. A player is allowed to step with his one foot while lifting the landing foot and throw the ball. But he/she has to ensure that this movement happens before the landing foot comes back to the ground.
  2. A player is allowed unlimited chances to pivot on the landing foot and move the other foot, but they aren’t permitted to lift/hop the landing foot until they get rid of the ball.
  3. A player is granted the right to jump while switching from the landing foot to the other foot and jump again to throw the ball.
  4. In the instance, when a player has both feet on the ground, they can opt to pick any of their foot as their landing foot.
  5. If you break any footwork rule, it’s termed as ‘stepping,’ and immediately the opposition is granted a free pass.

Toss-ups scenarios and regulations:

There are a few instances when the players of opposite sides get into a tangle in an attempt to reach for the ball. In these situations, the umpire may not conclude the decision, and the officials will then come into play to re-start the game by using a toss-up.

During a toss-up, the concerned two players will have to face each other with the umpire taking a stance between them. The umpire throws the ball in the air, not more than 2ft in the air in an attempt to even allow the shorter players to reach for it, and then, both players will try to catch it in their possession.

Court boundaries rules:

There are certain court boundaries that players need to adhere to at all times. Here’s the list of them.

A player is permitted to remain only in their designated spot. Upon stepping out of their area, it’s considered offside, irrespective of whether they have the ball or not.

The ball must compulsorily be handled in every third of the court. An attempt at the opposite goal cannot be made from the own half.

When the ball goes out of court, the ball is returned via a throw-in by the opposition, at a point from where the ball left the court in the first place.

All in all, Netball is a complete exercise to the mind and body. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a ball and start playing!


Netball rules: https://www.playfinder.com/blog/netball-rules-positions
How to play Netball: https://www.rulesofsport.com/sports/netball.html







Netball 101

Netball 101

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