Netball - The Game
Netball was invented in 1891 by Canadian-American
James Naismith. In the original game, there is no dribbling,
only throwing and catching (as well as shooting hoops-no dunk
shots, though). When Naismith sent instructions for his game,
including a diagram of the court to Calara Baer in 1895, a
simple misunderstanding led to the development of netball.
Baer read the diagram as meaning that the players did not
move from their designated area on the court, an adaptation
that remains to this day.
The game has continued to grow in popularity
and was played in the last Commonwealth Games . Since
1963, there have been world netball championships held every
four years. Australia is considered the team to beat, having
had 8 wins of the 10 tournaments. In 1995, netball became
an Olympic sport, which is sure to drive its popularity further,
as is the growing popularity of mixed team and men's netball.
The emphasis on cooperation, rather than egocentric individual
plays as in men s basketball, may be part of it s appeal for
women. The entire team must focus and play together to win
the game, allowing satisfaction for all the players, not just
the superstar few. As the number of women originally from
such places such as the United Kingdom grows in the US, so
will the popularity of this sport, bringing a home-grown sport
Although traditionally the majority of netball
players have been female, the game is being played by growing
numbers of men in internationally on all-male or mixed teams.
Netball for males has recently been acknowledged internationally
and the first ever Men's World Championships are being planned
to be held in New Zealand soon.
Netball is basically a running, chasing, passing
and dodging game played by two teams of seven players. Goals
are scored by throwing the ball through a 10 foot high, horizontal
ring that is defended by the other side. The game consists
of four 15 minute quarters, with a 3 minute interval between
the first and second quarter, a five minute interval at half-time,
and another three minute interval between the third and fourth
quarters. Teams change end with every quarter.
The 100 x 50 foot court is divided lengthwise
into thirds, with a 10 foot high goalpost (with a net, but
no backboard) on each end of the court. The goal circle is
drawn around each goal (radius of 16 feet). Shots must only
be attempted from within the circle. Each of the seven players
indicates her position by,letters on the front and back of
her uniform-GS, GA, WA, C, WD, GD, and GK. The ball (between
27 and 28 inch circumference) must not be held by a player
for more than three seconds, nor can the player take more
than two steps with the ball.
Netball is a fast and energetic game that promotes
team play by using basic passing, catching, running and shooting
skills. Each team has seven positions which allows each athlete
to specialize as either a shooter, defender or mid-court player.An
advantage of netball is the relative simplicity of the equipment
needed to play the game. The basic requirements include two
goal posts, a marked court, a ball, fourteen pinnies(bibs)
to designate positions, and 14 people with good shoes who
are ready to have some fun!
These are the positions and their respective playing areas:
GK = Goal Keeper
WD = Wing Defense
GD = Goal Defense
GS = Goal Shooter
WA = Wing Attack
GA = Goal Attack
Attack and Defense
C = Centre
The Rules in Brief
Time - Games are either 2 x 40 minute halves, or 4
x 15 minute quarters
Scoring - Each goal is worth one point.
Only the two designated shooters can shoot and shots must
be taken from within the shooting circle.
Obstruction - One may not defend from
closer than three feet to the player with the ball.
Contact - One may not touch another player,
or touch the ball while it is in another players hands.
Held ball - One may not hold the ball
for longer than three seconds at a time.
Offside - A player may not go outside
of his or her designated area.
Re-played ball - One may not pass the
ball and re-catch it without it touching someone else or the
goal post. But a player may bounce the ball once to gain possession.
Over a third - The ball may not go untouched
over any of the courts three designated thirds.
Stepping or Footwork- A player
may not take more than one step with the ball at a time. The
first foot to touch the court after the ball is caught is
called the player's grounded, pivot, or landed foot. If this
foot is lifted it cannot be re-grounded before the player
throws the ball.
Throw-in - When the ball is thrown out
of court it is thrown back on court by a member of the non-offending
Centre pass - Play starts and re-starts
with alternate centre passes from the centre circle. Re-starts
occur after each goal scored.
**Any infringement of the rules will
result in the non-offending team being awarded a free pass
or a penalty pass or shot at goal from wherever the infringement
The Official IFNA Rules in .pdf
format can be downloaded HERE