The objective of a netball team is to score more goals than the opposition. A goal is scored through a successful shot into the opponent’s hoop. The team which scores the most goals wins the match! Games are split into 4 quarters, each lasting 15 minutes.
Netball is played on a court (either hard or soft) which is 30.5 metres in length and 15.25 metres wide. There is a post at either end of the court, with a hoop positioned 3.05 metres off the ground. A netball court is split into areas, with players only being permitted to enter particular zones depending on their position.
The ‘netball’ itself is similar to a ‘basketball’, however, typically they are white and weigh considerably less.
A netball team is made up of 7 players. Each player has a nominated position and role, and may only be permitted into certain areas of the court. If a player enters a zone which they are restricted from then they are deemed ‘offside’.
The positions in a netball team are as follows:
- GS – Goal Shooter – Can move anywhere within the attacking third of the court, but cannot leave it.
- GA – Goal Attack – Can move anywhere within the attacking third and the centre third of the court.
- WA– Wing Attack – Can move within the attacking third and centre third, with the exception of the shooting circle.
- C – Centre – Can move anywhere across the court, apart from either of the shooting circles.
- WD – Wing Defence – Can move within the centre third and the defensive third, with the exception of the shooting circle.
- GD – Goal Defence – Can move anywhere within the attacking third and the centre third of the court.
- GK – Goal Keeper – Can move anywhere within the defensive third of the court, but cannot leave it.
Only the ‘Goal Shooter’ and ‘Goal Attack’ of a team are allowed to score directly, and can only do so when they are in the oppositions goal circle.
Footwork & Contact Rules
The netball rules regarding footwork are particularly specific and important.
Firstly, a player cannot let their landing foot touch the floor again if they lift it away from the ground at all while in possession of the ball. Thus it is often said that a player can only take 1.5 steps while holding the ball. They can however still balance on the other foot even if landing leg is lifted.
A player may also only hold onto the ball for 3 seconds at a time. The combination of these rules makes for a fast game, whereby the only way of transporting the ball towards the opposition’s goal is through passing.
Netball also has strict rules regarding contact. Contact is prohibited where it impedes with an opponent or gameplay. A player must also always be at least 3 feet away from an opponent with the ball when defending. If impeding contact is made then a penalty is awarded.