Netball is a fast-paced sport where players pass and shoot the ball into the goal circle to score points. Each game is divided into four quarters and the team with the most points at the end of the match wins. There are a number of different rules that are designed to keep the game fair and safe for players.
The court is divided into five different areas and each player has a designated area that they are allowed to play in. The positions of centre (C), goal defence (GD), wing defence (WD) and goal attack (GA) are all allowed in the attacking and defensive thirds of the court, but not in the shooting circles at either end.
When a player has the ball, they are only allowed to take one step and they must pass or shoot for goal within three seconds of catching it. They can also bounce the ball or bat it once, but cannot do both at the same time. They are also not allowed to run with the ball or dribble it. If a player touches another player or the ball, it is considered contact and if the umpire feels that they have been impeded they will award the opposition with a penalty pass.
Players can mark other players, but their arms must remain in a natural position and they cannot touch the player that they are marking. If they do make contact they will be awarded a penalty pass, but it is important that they don’t impede the player too much. The nearest foot of the defender must be 0.9 metres (3ft) from the landing foot of the player with the ball. They may jump to intercept or defend, but if they use their arms or legs they will be penalised.
If a player has the ball and is in the attacking third of the court they can only play inside their own shooting circle. This means that only the GA and GS from the opposing team can shoot into it.
When the ball is in the shooting circle, it must be thrown from behind the line of the semi-circle, or ‘D’, and only the GA or GS can shoot the ball into the hoop for a goal to be scored. The defenders are allowed to block the GA and GS from scoring, but they must be three feet or more away from the landing foot of the player with the goal ball.
While the rules of netball are simple, they can be complex to understand. The best way to learn the game is by playing it regularly, so that you can get a feel for the different roles and how the ball moves around the court. It is also a good idea to try and swap into a new position every quarter, as this will help you develop your overall skill level. Many of the world’s top netball pitch players began their careers at a different position to where they eventually became famous.