Description of the Game

Description and rules

Like basketball, the game is played on a hard court with scoring rings at both ends, and with a ball resembling a basketball (but much lighter and slightly softer in construction). The rings, whilst of similar height and dimension to basketball rings, do not have a "backboard". The field is divided into thirds which regulate where individuals in each team are allowed to move, and two semi-circular "shooting circles" at each end from within which all scoring shots must be taken.

Diagram of a netball court.
Diagram of a netball court.

There are seven players on each team, who are given nominated, named positions (and in competitive netball must wear "bibs" showing the abbreviations below indicating that position). They are only allowed in certain areas of the court, as described below:

Position Name Abbreviation Opponent Areas permitted
Goal Shooter GS Goal Keeper Attacking goal third including shooting circle
Goal Attack GA Goal Defence Attacking goal third, shooters circle, and center third
Wing Attack WA Wing Defence Attacking goal third and center third, not shooters circle
Center C Center Everywhere except shooting circles
Wing Defence WD Wing Attack Defensive goal third and center third, not shooters circle
Goal Defence GD Goal Attack Defensive goal third and center third, including shooters circle
Goal Keeper GK Goal Shooter Defensive goal third, including shooters circle

By the combination of the above, only the Goal Attack and Goal Shooter are able to score goals directly.

Netball rules do not permit players to take more than one step in possession of the ball. Consequently, the only way to move the ball towards the goal is to throw the ball to a teammate. This, combined with the restrictions on where players can move, ensures that everyone on the team is regularly involved in play. Defence is restricted -- not only is contact not permitted, but players must get three feet (90 centimetres) away to defend, meaning that hard physical contact is rare.

Men's Netball

A recent survey by IFNA revealed that men's netball is regularly being played in England, Namibia, Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Canada, India, Pakistan, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand.

In Canada, at two of their last three National Championships, demonstration games of men's netball were staged. Many Samoan boys play netball and rugby and the rugby authorities have acknowledged the usefulness of netball skills in their sport. Netball New Zealand has a positive view on the potential that men's netball could offer but believes that progress and resource allocation must be handled with care.

In Trinidad & Tobago, Lystra Lewis of the IFNA Members Council, recalls that men's netball is not new. She said that men have been playing the game since the 1930's - umpiring, playing and coaching. In fact, the former Port of Spain Mayor, George Cabral, was the first President of The Port of Spain Netball League.

Jamaica recently hosted its first international men's netball series against England, taking place from 6 - 20 December. This was a three test series with the teams competing for The Goodwill Cup. This was the first meeting of the kind in Jamaica and it was seen as fostering good relations between both nations. The Series was endorsed by the Jamaica Netball Association President and IFNA Vice-President, Molly Rhone. Results were match 1 - Jamaica 44, England 32, match 2 - Jamaica 45, England 39, match 3 - Jamaica 54, England 31. This was a great learning experience for both countries and will, no doubt, be a spring board for future developments.

At the IFNA Council Meeting, held in September in Christchurch, New Zealand, the development of men's netball was discussed at length, with many members describing how men's netball was being played within their countries. It was recognized by IFNA that the development of men's netball had been discussed at Council Meetings in 1993, 1995 and 1997 and a strategy was now required to make some progress.

It was decided, by Council, that a Men's World Netball Championship should be held, under the direction of IFNA, within the next five years at a time and place to be decided by Members Council, IFNA's new policy making team. A condition of participation will be that entries must come from affiliates of IFNA members.

The first step, to staging the event, is to establish a timetable for men's netball to be affiliated to national governing bodies. Existing IFNA members have now been asked what structures they have in place for men's netball within their membership and advised of the possible need for Constitutional amendments, to enable men to affiliate to their membership, in order to compete in an IFNA event.

It is known that men's netball teams play regularly in the West Indies, Canada, New Zealand, England and Australia.

Taken from IFNA's feature news. and