What’s Netball?

Netball is a quick passing game. It is played on a court 30.5 x 15.25 m (100 x 50feet). The object of the game is to score more goals than the opponents by shooting the ball through a hoop suspended from a post that is 10 foot from the ground (goal post). Each goal scores 1 point. The score of an average game would be about 30-45 goals.

The Netball Team

There are seven players on each team. Players wear a bib with letters on it that designates the name of their position. Players are permitted to play in designated zones on the court. The names of the 7 positions are as follows:
GS Goal Shooter
GA Goal Attack
GK Goal Keeper
GD Goal Defense
C Centre
WA Wing Attack
WD Wing Defense

The Netball Court

The playing court is divided into 3 equal sections by “third” or transverse lines. There are semi-circles at each end of the court that are named “shooting circles”. The goal post is positioned on the base line at the mid point.

netball court

The Game

Players pass the ball from the defensive end of the court to the attacking end of the court and attempt to score a goal by shooting the ball through the hoop. Players have 3 seconds in which to receive and release the ball. They may not travel with the ball or dribble the ball. After a successful shot on goal the game is restarted by a pass from the centre player who is standing in the centre of the court (centre pass). The centre players alternate the taking of the centre passes. The team that does not have possession of the ball contests the ball to intercept it and gain possession. A goal is scored when the GS or GA shoot from within the shooting circle.

History of Netball

The game of Netball was developed by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 when he was asked by the Boston YMCA to develop a women’s’ version of basketball. It quickly spread to England and from there to many of the British Commonwealth Nations. There were no standard rules at that time and there were both nine-a-side and five-a-side versions of the game. During an Australian tour of England in 1957, discussions took place about standardizing the rules of the game, prompting representatives from England, Australian, New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies to meet in Sri Lanka in 1960 to establish the International Federation of Women’s Basketball and Netball. Formal rules were established at this inaugural meeting and it was decided to hold World Championship Tournaments every four years, beginning in Eastbourne, England in 1963. Canada joined this international competition in 1979 at the 5th World Championships held in Trinidad & Tobago, placing 11th. Canada is currently ranked 13th in the world.

Netball has continued to expand at the international level. It was included, for the first time, in the Commonwealth Games, which took place in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. Netball became an Olympic recognized sport in 1995 but has yet to achieve ‘programme status’.

Since being introduced in BC in 1975, participation in Netball has grown to over 2000 women and children. It is played at Elementary and High school levels, Regional, Provincial, and National Levels and at the recreational club level, providing opportunities for all ages and abilities to participate in this growing sport.

Though historically a game played, officiated and administered by women, the popularity of Netball has been growing among men and boys. BC Netball offers co-ed instruction in the sport and holds tournaments, at the elementary level, for both boys and girls. At the National level, men’s competition was included for the first time in the Canadian National Championships in 2001, in preparation for the future inclusion of men in international competition.
Netball is played by over 20 million people in more than 70 countries around the world.