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How to Play Netball

By Contributor

Netball is similar to basketball and played with a soccer ball or official netball. To win, get the most goals by throwing a ball through a ring attached to a post; however, unlike basketball, there is no backboard. Goals can only be scored by one of two shooters while standing within the goal circle. If this sounds like fun, a few tips can get you playing in no time.

Setting up the Team

Play with two umpires to control the game as they watch from the half court line on each sideline.

Make sure that your team has great defense, by selecting a center who is fast on their feet. The center can move freely on all parts of the court besides the goal circles and plays a key roll in moving the ball from one end of the court to the other.

Have two wing players, an attack position and a defense position. Each player will guard a goal circle; however, wings must remain in the third of the court near the goals, but they are not allowed to enter the goal circle itself and cannot shoot goals.

Select two goalies, one attack and one defense. These players are allowed in the goal circle, as well as the outer third and can both block and shoot goals. Place one player on each side of the court.

Choose a shooter that will work with the goalies; however, the shooter is only allowed in the outer third with the wing player.

Pick one goal keeper, only allowed in the outer third. The goal keeper can only block goals and cannot shoot them.

Game Play Basics

Place all players in their positions before game play begins, with everyone behind the 1/3 lines. Once the whistle blows, players with mobility can move into the center to play the first netball pass.

Begin play with a pass from the center circle after the umpire blows a whistle. The center pass should start play after each scored goal, alternating ball possession from one team to the other with each pass.

Keep the netball moving with quick, accurate passes as you are not allowed to run with a ball or dribble, as in basketball. Players are not allowed to move more than one step with the ball, and are required to pass the ball within just 3 seconds, therefore learning to position the team is key in making goals.

Intercept the other teams passes and keep your team on their toes so that you can quickly switch plays and tactics as the ball quickly changes possession throughout the game.

Play clean, as netball is a non-contact sport. Players must step at least 3 feet away from the player with ball possession to avoid obstruction penalties which give a free center pass to the opposing team.

Continue game play through four 15 minute quarters with 3 to 5 minute breaks in between. Players may be swapped only after each quarter. The team with the most goals at the end of the fourth quarter wins.

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