What is Netball?

Netball PlayersNetball is a fast, exciting, true team sport which involves running, jumping, throwing and catching.

Netball is similar to basketball although the rules, equipment and team numbers are slightly different: no dribbling; no running with the ball; 7 players per team; ball must be passed in 3 seconds; ball and basket are slightly smaller; there is no backboard; players are designated to certain areas of the court. Netball also has similarities to european handball, korfball and ultimate frisbee.

Netball is played by over 20 million people in more than 70 countries. In 1995, Netball became a “recognized” Olympic sport and a strong push is underway for its inclusion in the Olympic Games Program.

History of Netball

Historic NetballDuring the winter of 1891, James Naismith, a young instructor at the YMCA Training School at Springfield, Massachusetts, was assigned a task of finding an indoor sport for men – the result was basketball.  He based the game on the following principles: should be no running with the ball; no personal contact and the goal should be horizontal and elevated.  Senda Berenson who arrived at the college as a gymnastics instructor wondered whether this game would be a good activity for women.  She then designed women’s basketball.  She solved the question of overtaxing the women physically by dividing the court into three equal sections and requiring players to stay in their assigned section.   Thus, the players could not run all over the court and become exhausted.  She justified the three-section court because it encouraged team play.  To assure womanly play Berenson prohibited players from snatching or batting the ball from the hands of another player.  To increase the pace of the game, players were not permitted to hold the ball for longer than three seconds and they could not bounce or dribble the ball more than three times.  It wasn’t until the 1960’s that this version of the game was changed to the name of ‘Netball’.  The sport has taken off through the Commonwealth countries and is the women’s #1 team sport in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, Hong Kong, South Africa and Fiji, however remained unknown in the USA.

Even though Netball has been played in the USA for 30 years, several organizations have failed to get Americans playing the sport or help expose Netball to get the attention it deserves. As the largest Netball organization in the USA, Netball America is the first to introduce Netball into core USA education curriculums with our education programs being implemented throughout Miami-Dade County Public Schools (350+), New York City Housing Authority Community Centers (400+) and at Wayne State College.

Benefits of Netball

  • Netball is an all inclusive sport, can be played by females and males of all ages, and a wide range of positions allows for different skill levels.
  • Cost efficient sport and minimal equipment needed.
  • Maintains a competitive yet non aggressive environment.
  • A true team sport as the ball must be passed from one player to another in order to move the ball down the court.
  • Self esteem and confidence is built through team work required, and players owning their own ‘position’ on court.

Netball Facts

Netball Court and Net

  • A team may consist of up to to 12 players, only 7 may take the court at any one time.
  • Each player has a designated playing area.
  • Female Netball players usually wear skirts or dresses to play the game.
  • A Netball court measures 100′ long by 50′ wide (as compared to a regulation NBA basketball court which is 96′ long by 50′ wide).
  • Netball posts are the same height as Basketball posts (10 feet), however the goal ring is smaller in diameter.
  • A Netball is smaller and lighter than a Basketball (similar to a size 5 soccer ball, however with a grip of a volleyball).
  • Netball goal rings do not have a backboard.
  • Players may attempt to dunk, however no contact is allowed with the goal ring (which also includes the net).
  • Only 2 designated players are able to shoot a goal.
  • Each goal is worth 1 point and has to be shot from inside the goal circle.
  • Each player has 3 seconds to pass the ball.
  • There in no dribbling in Netball.
  • Players may do a “jump shot” however the ball must be released before either foot comes in contact with the ground again.

For more information about the game – click here.

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