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Where To Play Netball

Updated on December 20, 2013

Are you putting together a netball team but don’t know how to go about finding a good place to practice? The popularity of this sport continues to grow since it was first developed in the late nineteenth century, and the establishment of an International Netball Federation in 1960 provided an immense boost to the sport, putting it on a professional basis and establishing internationally accepted rules. Whilst it is great for the sport to have both national and international support, it does mean that it can be difficult to find a regular place to play with so many other teams out there.

However, there are plenty of ways to find somewhere for your team to play if you just look around. What you’re looking for is an indoor or outdoor regulation netball court so you can practice properly. These should measure 100 feet long and 50 feet wide, with horizontal lines dividing it into thirds. There will be two semicircles around the goal rings at either end of the court, and a circle in the centre. Unlike with basketball, there is no backboard to the goal hoop.

If you’re putting a team together and want to find a venue you may have even already assigned positions to your team mates and perhaps even practiced passing and ball skills in your local park. Obviously the emphasis would then be on finding somewhere more suitable to work together as a proper team, and hopefully compete with other teams as well. What then?

One very useful resource for finding a place for regular team practices is of course the Internet. The England Netball Association’s website is helpful, but if you are looking for smaller local courts you may be better off finding one of the region-specific sites which have been set up specifically to foster the development of local sporting leagues. These will give you information on where to play in your area, which leagues are currently running and available to new members, and how to set up your own league. These are very useful resources if you’re not only looking for a place to play, but also looking to find other teams to compete against.

There will usually be a small fee for joining up to one of these sites but once you have you can take advantage of the many opportunities they offer in your chosen sport. They are a great way of promoting sport in specific regions and making it easy for those who want to play but don’t have the contacts to get involved. Some will even offer special ‘training clinics’ to demonstrate how to get the best out of players and work together as a team. They can lead on to your team taking part in competitive matches and even nationwide competitions.

The place you ultimately choose for your team to practice will really depend upon what you want to get out of it. If you are serious about training and competitions then it’s best to go online and contact either the national netball league or one of the sites mentioned above which will then be able to put you in touch with official venues. Another way is to go down to your local sports centre and see what kinds of netball facilities they have. Of course, you will probably have to pay more to use a good court, so if you are really only playing for fun and don’t want to take the game further to a really competitive level you may be better off just finding a local park with nets or asking around to see if there are any other free facilities. Sometimes schools will offer the use of their courts for a very small fee.

If you don’t have access to the Internet then it is still pretty easy to find places to play netball. Trying talking to friends or acquaintances who play the sport and ask where they go to practice. You could also try going round personally to local places with netball courts to see whether there is the possibility of your team practicing there. Once you start looking you will find that there are far more practice courts available than you might have imagined.

Where To Play Netball In London

Netball has been played in the UK in some form since the 1890s and the formation of a International Netball Federation in 1960 has regulated the game and turned it into a world class sport. The playing of netball and the formation of new leagues in London in particular continues to grow with no sign of abating. There are many reasons for the popularity of this sport: from a health aspect, all the running around involved burns fat and improves cardio-vascular activity. It’s also a surprisingly skilled game which requires flexibility, accuracy and the ability to work together as a team.

Many people also enjoy netball for the social side: because it is a team sport, joining a league will get you in contact with many new people and this often leads to new friendships beyond the court as well. Many people moving to London find it hard, because of its sheer size and fast pace, to make new friends. This can feel isolating, and joining a sporting team is one of the best solutions to this.

If you’re trying to find a team to join in London, or a court to play on, there are ways in which the city’s sheer size can be an advantage. Each borough will have its own sports centres, courts etc and of course there are so many people that there is sure to be a team somewhere needing a player, or people looking for teams to play against. That said, because London is so huge it can be difficult knowing where to start and once you start looking there are so many leagues running it can almost be a little intimidating – particularly if you don’t know anyone.

To find out about local courts or London netball leagues the easiest thing to do is look online. In addition to the England Netball Association website or various schemes designed to encourage young people to play the sport, you will find plenty of websites focused on London in particular. These will give information on leagues and places to play near to you, or even allow you to set up your own league or team if there are a group of you and you want to practice together.

If you are new to the city and find the prospect of putting yourself right out there by trying to join a team right away a little frightening, it might be easier to try to get to know other netball players first. You can do this by joining online forums and chatting to players on there, or perhaps going down to your local sports centre and seeing if they can give you any information on netball groups or leagues near to you.

Remember that a good netball court should be 100 ft by 50 ft with a smooth, non-slippery surface to allow players to move freely and safely. To give you some idea of what’s available in the city, here are some of the most well-regarded courts in the city:

  • The Golden Lane Leisure Centre Netball Courts in east London are close to the Barbican tube station. This is the only public leisure centre in the City of London with two full-size outdoor netball courts. These are well-maintained and easy to access although they are overlooked by flats from the Golden Lane Estates so player are asked to keep noise to levels relatively quiet.
  • Sobell Leisure Centre, in north London near Finsbury Park tube station, has full size indoor netball courts, which is useful for those who can only play evening games. It is small but well-maintained – run by Aquaterra Leisure on behalf of Islington Council.
  • Another popular court is St Botolph’s Netball Court, in east London near Liverpool Street station. This has recently been resurfaced so it’s in great condition and has floodlights so evening games are also possible summer or winter. However, because it’s very popular bookings have to be made well in advance.
  • In west London, Lincoln’s Inn Fields Netball Courts can be found near Holborn tube station. These are outdoor courts in an historic public park so the setting itself is rather attractive and there is plenty of room for spectators so it’s a good venue for tournaments as well as practices. However, because there is no floodlighting play is restricted to daylight hours only.
  • Looking on line for social netball or organized netball games can provide a wealth of local leagues for fun or competing. One of these is Netbusters which provides tournaments, leagues and places in London for all levels and competition.

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