The Sports Archives – Netball Rules Explained


Netball is a game, predominantly played by women, that has continued for many years to be popular all over the world; not only is it a fast paced game, but there are also fewer rules to remember than with other ball sports. The upshot of this is that it can therefore be easily picked up and enjoyed by all. Each team of seven contains one of each of the different positions, these being Goal Attack, Wing Attack, Goal Shooter, Wing Defence, Goal Defence, Goal Keeper and Centre. The netball court is divided into three equal sections and also contains what is known as the shooting circle; this is a semi circle area around each netball ring that all goal shots must be taken from.

Using the court

Each of the different playing positions mentioned above has different restrictions regarding the areas of the court they are permitted to be in. For example, the player who is acting as the Centre is able to travel into all three sections of the court but is not permitted to travel into the shooting circle; this means that a Centre is not able to score goals for their team. The Goal Shooter is only permitted to be in their shooting circle and up to the first transverse line that cuts the court into thirds. With each of the players only having specified areas that they can travel into on the court it is essential that good teamwork is employed in order to score more goals than the opposing team.

Technical details

A standard netball game lasts for sixty minutes and is split into four periods of play that last fifteen minutes each. Between the first and second period and the third and fourth period the players are given three minutes to catch their breath; between the secBKP Netball Tourneyond and third period of play, also known as half-time, this time is extended to five minutes. Although there are shared similarities with basketball, one of the main differences is that netball players are not permitted to travel around the court with the ball; instead, advancements towards the goal are made by passing to fellow teammates. As each player is only allowed in specific areas of the court it takes a great deal of teamwork to play the game successfully.

Attempts at goal

Due to them being the only players permitted inside the shooting circle, the Goal Shooter and Goal Attack are the only players who are able to score for their team. Shots at goal can only be defended by the Goal Keeper and Goal Defence and the rules state that they must be three feet from their opponent when doing so; both defence players are allowed to use their hands to help obstruct the shot but should they break the three foot rule then the shooting player from the opposition is awarded a penalty shot. During the penalty shot the player from the opposite team has to stand at the side whilst they re-take their shot at goal.


This is a guest post by Adam Johnson.  Adam runs a London based netball league from his website Go Mammoth.

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