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Basics of Netball

Updated on September 17, 2015


Netball is a sports event that is often played by two teams each with seven players. The sport began in England in the late 1800s as a derivative of the first version of basketball. The sport draws its rules and regulation from the International Netball Federation. The game is played on a rectangular filed with raised rings on both ends. Each team attempts to score goals by passing the ball on the goal ring. Conventionally, the players are assigned different positions which act as their roles and also define their movements in certain areas of the court. During the proceedings of the game a player is allowed to hold the ball for three seconds before passing it on or before attempting a shoot or passing it to another player. The game is more common among Common wealth countries and it is played for up to sixty-minutes long.

The game play

A typical netball game commences with a center pass at the blow of the umpire’s whistle. For each goal scored the first pass must begin at the center. Two players at the center are often responsible for starting the passes. Netball has four quarters each lasting sixty minutes. For each quarter, there is often a three minute interval break. However, the first break is often relatively longer than the rest. The first break is usually about five minutes long. However, during the game, the player must play within the rectangle, failure to which the opponents are awarded a free pass. During the play, a player is not permitted to let their landing foot touch the ground again, if it is lifted while in possession of the ball. So technically speaking, a player can take only 1.5 steps while holding the ball. The landing foot may also be used as a pivoting point to turn at many directions as possible. If a player lands on two feet simultaneously, he/she is allowed to step in any direction with the foot. He/she is also allowed to jump from both feet to either one foot provided they throw or shoot the ball before re-grounding.

Goal scoring

In netball, a goal is scored when the attacking player within the circle throws the ball through the ring. During play time, the players are never allowed to make body contacts with one another in a way that may hinder their playing ability. Players are not also allowed to hold their opponents. Keeping their elbows against one another is also an infraction.


Like any other game, infractions are probable in netball. Penalties could be one of the ways to counter infractions or rather to bring justice to the game play. In this game, there are various types of penalties. The penalties may include one of the following: Penalty pass, throw in, free pass, penalty shoot or even toss-up. A penalty pass is usually awarded to the opponent as a result of obstruction, intimidation or even infringements. The pass is taken from where the aggressor committed the atrocity. The same applies for a penalty shoot. A toss-up is used by the umpire when they are not in a position to find out who touched the ball out of the court. A throw in involves a throw of the ball in to the court by the opponent of the team who last touched the ball out of the court.

Blood Rule

Like any other sports, netball is also subject to injuries. When the umpire observes that there is a bleeding player, or rather there are blood stains on the court, he/she is required to stop the game and declare no “on court”. The play is stopped for around two minutes. The two minutes stoppage time adheres to the rules regarding the stoppage time. The stoppage time also has some rules that adhere to it. Before resuming into the court, any blood stained clothing must be removed or alternatively cleaned, the court must be clean and more importantly the flow of blood must be stopped.


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    • Allpeaks profile imageAUTHOR

      Austine Misula AllPeaksAuthors 

      3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Happy to bring back your sweet memories.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      3 years ago from San Diego California

      I had a girlfriend in Australia who played netball. I never knew what it was, and this is the first time I have heard about it since then. You brought back pleasant memories. Great hub!


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