The Netball Court, Positions and Rules
Making a start as a player
Getting into and finding the right team for you depends on a number of factors.
- Are you a new player?
- A player returning to netball after a long gap or an experienced player?
- Where do you live?
- How far you are able to travel?
- When do you want to play?
- Are you looking for a social team?
- Are you looking to play more seriously/competitively?
Your level of fitness and ability is an important factor when looking to start playing netball. Ideally you need to join a team that compliments the level that you are at.
As a beginner player who has never played netball or played a little bit at school you need to find a local team or a works based team that ideally holds regular training sessions.
Training sessions are a great opportunity to improve your general fitness level, learn the netball rules and tactics of play in a non-competitive environment.
In order to improve your game as a netball player, you and your team will need to find or develop from within - a netball coach. It is almost guaranteed that your team results and your own game will improve following practicing netball drills and structured netball training.
A netball drill will help improve certain skills such as ball control and creating space so the sequence of passing allows the netball to move fluently down the court towards the netball post and score many netball goals. Many netball players want to either ignore netball training drills and coaching and ‘just’ play, but the advice of netballpost.com is that good netball coaches are in short supply so do keep hold of a good netball coach and allow them to develop their own skills by developing new netball coaching techniques through netball drills and training.
The training session will also be a great way to get to know your team. Often teams train one evening in the week and then play in a league on another day/evening. As you become more familiar with the game you may want to play in the team in league matches.
Look at link ‘what to wear’ for information about what you need to buy or borrow (don’t borrow training shoes) to start playing.
Experienced or intermediate netball player
Generally this someone who has played to a good level at school, college or university or played in work teams or at club level.
As an intermediate player you will be more familiar with how netball teams and clubs work and what suits you best. Looking at different established teams gives you the opportunity to choose a team that is absolutely right for you. Often a good way to find out if you would like to join a team is to become a reserve player for a league. This will help you get to know the players and the level they play at when you turn up to play games.
Club netball through the Counties and then Super league is the next step and then onto national level! Further details can be obtained from England Netball.
What makes a good player?
Players should be ready to play as soon as the first whistle is blown. Shooters need to ‘get their eye in’ and practice shooting before the game starts. All players should warm up with a combination of stretching and running which will reduce the risk of injury. You need to be aware of the standard and ability of your team mates.
Players should play within the spirit of the game and be supportive and appreciative of the opposition and the umpires. It is important that players listen for the whistle and take note of the decision of the umpire.
At quarter time and half time to avoid dehydration, you must drink water or sports drinks; oranges are often provided at half time. After an enjoyable game it is worth ‘cooling down’ with gentle stretching and walking. There are many websites dedicated to the best way to stretch and minimise sports injuries.
The benefits of playing netball
When a player starts playing netball they will soon see and feel the results of improved fitness levels. As well as the more obvious physical benefits netball can be a great way to develop teams and build skills it also is a great way to meet new people and increase your confidence. It is a great method of reducing stress, encouraging people to eat a more balanced diet and reducing weight. Unlike going to the gym you will receive loads of support and encouragement from the rest of your teammates and you will start to see results very quickly.
As your playing career progresses you will enjoy a wider social life as through playing in leagues and tournaments you will meet people from different walks of life. You might even make new business connections or find a way into a new career; you may travel to different parts of the country or even to new parts of the world. What is certain is that you will get a real sense of achievement as your skills and circle of friends increases.
Positions and Rules
Rules of Netball
Each position has a main role to play:
GS - Goal Shooter
To score goals and to work in and around the circle with the
GA - Goal Attack
To feed and work with GS and to score goals
WA - Wing Attack
To feed the circle players giving them shooting opportunities
C - Centre
To take the Centre Pass and to link the defence and the attack
WD - Wing Defence
To look for interceptions and to prevent the WA from feeding the circle
GD - Goal Defence
To win the ball and reduce the effectiveness of the GA
GK - Goal Keeper
To work with the GD and to prevent the GS from scoring goals
Offside: Player moving out of own area, with or without ball (on a line counts as within either area)
Over a Third: Ball may not be thrown over two transverse lines without being touched
Out of Court: Ball is out of court when it contacts anything outside the court area (not the goalpost). The ball is returned into play by a Throw-In taken from a point outside the line where the ball left the court. The player stands with foot close to the line, and the ball must be thrown onto the court within three seconds.
Major and minor rules
The rules of netball are pretty straightforward, and fall into two basic categories: minor (or "technical") rules and major rules.
If a player breaks a minor rule the opposition is awarded a free pass, which is a pass taken from the same spot where the rule was broken.
Breaking a major rule is more serious, and results in the opposing team being awarded a penalty pass.
A penalty pass is similar to a free pass, except the player who broke the rule must stand out of the way until the pass is taken.
If a player gives away a penalty pass in the goal circle then the shooter can take a free shot at goal.
When a player receives a pass they have to act quickly, but they are not allowed to run with the ball or dribble it.
To gain control of the ball, a player can bat or bounce the ball once, but they CANNOT bat and bounce the ball, or do either more than once.
It is also against the rules to push the ball into the air before batting or bouncing it.
And don't think you can get away with untidy play either.
A player has to be standing before they throw the ball - so no chucking the ball when you're kneeling down or sprawled on the floor of the court!
Three second rule
To make sure the game stays pacy and competitive there's the three second rule.
This means players have only three seconds between catching the ball and making a pass
This rule aims to cut down on short passes between team members, and effectively stops the ball being handed from one player to the next at close range.
The player holding the ball must leave enough room for another person to move between their hands and those of the catcher.
This gives the opposition a chance to get the ball!
One of the trickiest rules to remember in netball is getting your footwork right.
If a player catches the ball with only one foot on the ground then that foot is called the landing foot.
A player can then choose to step with the other foot, lift the landing foot and throw the ball before the landing foot returns to the ground.
Or they can pivot on the landing foot and move the other foot any number of times - depending on how flexible the player is!
But they are NOT allowed to move or hop on the landing foot until they have thrown the ball.
A player can also jump, switching from the landing foot to their other one, and then jump again to throw the ball.
If a player has both feet on the floor when catching the ball they will choose their landing foot and follow the rules as above.
If a player breaks the footwork rule it is usually called stepping and a free pass is awarded.
Each player is only allowed in certain areas of the court and if they stray out of position then they are offside.
A player can still be offside even if they don't have the ball.
Long ball tactics that work so well in basketball and football also won't get you very far in netball!
That is because the ball must be handled in each third of the court.
A player cannot throw the ball from the defensive third to the attacking third, for example.
At least two passes also have to be made before a player can have a shot on goal.
There are 14 players on a netball court, so you can occasionally expect two players to get tangled up reaching for the ball at the same time!
This is called simultaneous contact and the umpire will use a toss up to restart the game.
The two players face each other while the umpire stands in between them. The umpire then throws the ball and both players try and catch it.
You might think taller players would always win toss ups.
But the umpire throws the ball no more than two feet into the air from just below the shoulder height of the shorter player.
Toss ups also help solve incidents on the court when the umpire is unsure exactly what happened.
Netball is a non-contact sport, and players cannot make physical contact with one another on the court.
A good thing about this rule is that it stops taller and bigger players using their size to unfair advantage.
Defenders have to stand 0.9m (3ft) away from the player with the ball.
From this distance a player can try and win the ball back, but ONLY when it has been thrown into the air.
Players can defend a member of the other team who does not have the ball but they cannot touch them or snatch the ball from under their nose!
If a player makes physical contact and disrupts play then a penalty pass is awarded.
But remember to be careful, because even if you trip over your shoelaces and knock another player over by accident - the referee will still give a penalty pass!
Moving the goalposts
No-one would notice if you just moved that 3m (10ft) goalpost just a little nearer would they?
Well, if a player is caught leaning on a post then a free pass will be given.
But if you try and move the thing then you will give the other side a penalty pass. So moving the goalposts is definitely not allowed!