What is Netball?

What is Netball? Netball is a ball game with a few similarities to basketball, but they differ in rules, the number of players, and equipment. In netball, there is no dribbling or running with the ball, which happens in basketball. Once you get the ball, you stop and pass it to another team member in three seconds. 

There are seven players per team and they play on a rectangular court. Players are designated to mark different parts of the field as they focus on the ball to make a score. They need to have keen hand-eye coordination and special awareness to catch the ball and pass it on for scoring.

what is netball

The two teams skillfully strive to gain ball possession and keep it in the team as they pass it for scoring. Once a team gets hold of the ball, they must guard it as they run, jump, throw, and catch to reach the goal ring. The opposing team will use defensive techniques or movements to snatch the ball, preventing the other team from scoring. 

Players are responsible for their physical and technical preparedness to enable them to play well and be compliant with the game rules as they participate safely in a fair manner. The coaches are responsible for ensuring the team is well prepared to comply with game rules and have a good understanding of sporting behaviour and safe practices. 

What is Netball? And Where did it Originate?

Netball evolved from basket then to an independent sport, and a change of rules influenced it in basketball. Women dominated the game, and it was known as women’s outdoor basketball. In 1893, Martina Bergman-Österberg introduced outdoor basketball to her college students at London’s Physical Training college in Hampstead. 

A modification of the original basketball rules changed the game outdoors, where it was played on grass and baskets were replaced with netted rings without a backboard. And, the new game netball. In 1901 its coded rules were published by the Ling Association then later on by the Physical Education Association of the United Kingdom.

what is netball

Netball then spread to different countries in the British Empire with a variation of the rules and a name for the sport in other areas. Outdoor basketball(Netball) was around 1900 in New Zealand six years later, and in Jamaica, it was being played by 1909. 

The Spread of Netball to the World

In the effort to discover what is netball, let’s first find out how it came to be. Netball’s restricted movements were considered socially upright for women. The game spread fast, and women were predominant in the countries it was introduced but later spread rapidly to the world through school systems in the first half of the 20th century. 

The first governing body for netball was established in 1924 in New Zealand. There were financial challenges that hampered international competition in different countries. Australia hosted New Zealand for the first international netball game in Melbourne, in 1938 and Australia won the game with a score of 40–11.

Netball Rules

Like many games, you score while in the opponent’s shooting circle, and each goal is worth one point. The game is played in four quarters of 15 minutes each, and the team with the most set of wins is the winner. A netball court is slightly longer than a basketball court, and it is divided into thirds: A centre and each team have a goal third on each side.

Every goal third has a semi-circle called a shooting circle with a goal post without a backboard like in basketball. Both teams are assigned a goal third, which they are supposed to defend, and they switch at the end of every quarter.

Netball is about teamwork and coordination to pass the ball. Also, all players have specific positions that they are confined to. Once a player gets the ball, they can take a step and then pass it to another player in three seconds, and if they fail, the ball changes hands to the opposing team from where the mistake happened. But normally the game begins from the centre.

Netball Positions

A netball team has seven players in designated positions in prescribed areas, and that’s their area of play throughout the game. 

  • The Goal Shooter is responsible for shooting all goals in the opposing team’s third and within the shooting circle. 
  • The Goal Attack can get into the opposing team’s goal third to challenge the goal shooter past their defence. They assist the goal shooter in scoring, or they can do it themselves.
  • A Wing Attack is allowed in goal attack but not in the opposer’s goal circle. Their work is to pass the ball down the court. 
  • A Centre can play in any part of the court apart from the goal circle. After a score, the ball goes back to the centre for another play to begin. They are responsible for attacking and defending, meaning they must be flexible. 


Hopefully, the question of what netball is now well answered. As a popular game around the world, the rules of the game are standard but strict. It is played by over 30 million people in 80 countries men, women, boys and girls. And, it is most popular in the commonwealth countries, with women being dominant. 

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