While netball may be unknown to a lot of people, it’s an incredibly popular sport in many of the Commonwealth nations. In fact, it’s played by as many as 20 million people in as much as 80 countries, which is definitely not a figure to be underestimated. Other two things worth mentioning about this sport are the facts that it’s predominantly played by women and that it’s often played in schools. So, for all those who are interested in trying their hand in this new and exciting sport, there are a few things to learn before you can successfully engage in this new and fun sporting activity.
Learn the rules
Netball is a sport that’s closest in nature to basketball (even though its raised ring is referred to as a goal) but with more than several differences in rules that make it quite dissimilar from its more popular counterpart. First of all, the court is not split in halves but in thirds. The player can’t hold onto the ball for more than three seconds, which makes the gameplay quite dynamic and vibrant. The game itself consists of four quarters, each lasting 15 minutes. The breaks are 3 minutes long, except for the half-time which is five minutes long.
Choose your role
Next, there are some restrictions as to the movement of each player. For instance, unlike in basketball where players have the freedom to run all over the court, in netball, players are spatially restricted. You see, the goalkeeper can only move in their own third of the court. The goal defense can move through the first and the second third of the court (their own and the middle), while the wing defense can move through these two thirds but can’t walk into the goal circle.
The center can move in all thirds but can’t enter any goal circle, while wing attack can move in the center third and the forward third but can’t enter the other team’s goal circle. Furthermore, the goal attack can move in both middle and the final third of the court and lastly, the goal shooter can only play in the third that they’re attacking. In other words, each position in defense has its equivalent in the attack, so, for instance, it would be safe to see the goal shooter as the opposite of the goalkeeper and so forth.
Get the necessary equipment
Unlike hockey or boxing, netball doesn’t require you to invest in expensive equipment. In fact, it’s a budget-friendly sport. All that you as a player need to possess are a ball, the netball (so that you can practice at home) and a player attire. Getting yourself a custom-made netball skirt may make you more motivated to improve your skill and eager to show it off during a game. Either way, this is just a cherry on the topping of all the benefits that you’ll get to reap.
Once you know the basics, you’ll see that there’s much more to the game than meets the eye at first. For starters, there are so many strategies that you need to learn in order to become more effective at the game. You need to keep the eye on the ball, which is the key in the majority of sports, however, you also need to learn how to act when you don’t have the ball. You need to keep your opponents close or lose them when you expect to receive the ball. All of this comes in time and with practice. Still, there are a lot of exercises that can help improve your reaction time.
Watch a game or two
Like in any other sport, the best way to learn is to actually play it. On the other hand, there are many professional games online that you could watch in order to learn a thing or two. When it comes to tournaments and associations worth keeping an eye on, World Netball Championship and the Commonwealth Games are just two of them. You also need to keep in mind that even though netball is a sport recognized by the Olympic committee, it’s not played at the Olympics as of yet.
One of the most exciting things about discovering a new passion (regardless if it’s a hobby or a sport) is the fact that it opens a whole new world in front of your eyes. There are so many interesting videos for you to look at on YouTube, so many strategies and tips to master, so many player names to catch and a reason more to stay up at night (to catch a live streaming game). All in all, you’ll be one experience richer and get one more unique conversation topic.