The basic rules of netball
PLAYING THE GAME:
The netball court is divided into thirds – the centre third in the middle, and two goal thirds at either end. Passes from the centre of the court are taken alternately by the Centre (C) for each team at the start of each quarter and after every goal is scored. Each team endeavours to pass the ball from the centre of the court down to their goal circle and have their Goal Attack (GA) or Goal Shooter (GS) score goals. The team with the most goals at the end of the playing time wins the game.
EVERYONE HAS A ROLE:
Netball has 7 positions, and each position has a certain role in the game. Players are only allowed in designated areas of the court, depending on their position, and may be given primarily defensive responsibilities, or offensive responsibilities. The Centre (C) for each team connects the offence and defence together. Since each player is important, netball is a game that tends to involve everyone.
STARTING PLAY – THE CENTRE PASS:
Before the umpire’s whistle to start play, all of the players – except the two Centres – must start in the goal thirds of the court. The Centre with the ball must stand wholly within the centre circle. The opposing Centre stands anywhere within the centre third of the court and is free to move. After the whistle, players run into the centre third and the Centre pass must be caught or touched by a player standing in or landing wholly within the centre third.
Only GS or GA can score – and they must land completely within the goal circle when they receive the ball in order to shoot for goal. A goal is scored when the ball passes over and completely through the goal ring.
A game usually consists of 4 x 15 minute quarters with an interval of 3 minutes between the first and second and third and fourth quarters and a 5 minute half time interval. At Copenhagen Netball Club, we vary our playing time to suit the number of players and teams.
Two umpires have control of the game and their decisions are final. When rules of the game are broken, the penalties awarded by the umpires are a free pass, a penalty pass (or penalty pass or shot), a throw in, or a toss up.
Minor infringements result in a free pass to the opposing team. Breaking the following rules will result in a free pass being awarded to the opposing team. Free passes may be taken by any player from that team allowed in that area, as soon as they are in position. (But a player may not shoot from a free pass in the goal circle).
A player that moves out of their designated play area, with or without the ball, will cause a free pass to be awarded to the other team. On a line counts as within either area.
MOVING TOO SOON INTO THE CENTRE FOR THE CENTRE PASS:
A player moving into the Centre third before the whistle is blown for the Centre pass.
‘PLAYING’ THE BALL:
A player who has caught or the ball must play it or shoot for goal within three seconds. A player may bounce or bat the ball once in order to gain control. Once released, the ball must next be touched by another player or the goal. Players can’t throw the ball to themselves!
At the moment the ball is passed there must be room for a third player to pass between hands of thrower and catcher. Otherwise a ‘short pass’ will be declared.
OVER A THIRD:
Ball may not be thrown over a complete third without being touched or caught by a player wholly within that third. This means you can’t pass from one end of the court to the other without involving your teammates.
FOOTWORK – NO RUNNING WITH THE BALL:
Having caught the ball, a player may land or stand on:
- One foot – while the landing foot remains grounded, the second foot may be moved anywhere any number of times, pivoting on the landing foot if desired. Once the landing foot is lifted, it must not be re-grounded until the ball is released.
- Two feet (simultaneously) – once one foot is moved, the other is considered to be the landing foot, as above. Hopping or dragging the landing foot is not allowed.
Breaking the following rules will result in a penalty pass or a penalty pass or shot at goal (if the infringement occurs in the goal ring) being awarded to the opposing team.
A PENALTY PASS (or PENALTY PASS/ PENALTY SHOT if in the goal circle):
This is awarded where the infringement occurred. The offending player must stand out of play (hands by sides) beside the thrower until the pass or shot has been taken. Any opposing player allowed in that area may take the penalty.
DEFENDING TOO CLOSELY – OBSTRUCTION:
When a player has the ball, the nearer foot of the defender must be 0.9m (3ft) feet from the landing foot of the player with the ball, or the spot where the first foot had landed if one has been lifted. The defender may jump to intercept or defend the ball from this 0.9m (3ft) feet distance.
If a player does not have the ball, the defender may be close, but not touching that player. Arms must be in a natural position, not outstretched, and no other part of the body or legs may be used to hamper an opponent.
Intimidation of any kind (including waving your arms like a crazy person, or yelling things to distract players), is classed as obstruction.
A standing player is not required to move to allow an opponent a free run, but dangerous play must be discouraged, e.g. moving into the landing space of a player already in the air or stepping late into the path of a moving player.
A LOW-CONTACT SPORT MEANS NO CONTACT ALLOWED:
No player may contact an opponent, either accidentally or deliberately, in such a way that interferes with the play of that opponent or causes contact to occur.
IF THE BALL GOES OUT OF COURT – A THROW IN:
A throw in is awarded to the opposing team of the player who last had contact with the ball or who received the ball whilst in contact with anything outside the court. The ball is out of court when it contacts anything outside the court area (except the goalpost). The ball is returned into play by a throw in taken from the point outside the court where the ball crossed the line. The player stands with their foot close to the line, and the ball must be thrown onto the court within three seconds.
This is for all simultaneous infringements (like if two players run into each other). The two players stand facing each other at their own shooting ends with hands by their sides and the umpire flicks the ball upwards not more than 600mm (2ft) in the air as the whistle is blown. Players try and grab the ball.
Modified from www.netballonline.com.