Netball is a team sport adapted from the game of basketball. The official rules for netball, which used to be known as 'women's basketball' were formulated in England in 1901. The game was first played by women, outdoors on grass and was essentially the game we now recognise as netball.
The rules of the game travelled with the British colonialists and is predominantly played in countries of the British Commonwealth including Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies. The game has even spread to Japan, Canada and America.
In 1970 the name of the game was changed from basketball to netball. Australia is ranked number one in the world and has won six out of eight World Championships which are held every four years.
Netball is the most played sport by females in Australia and has produced legends like Anne Sargeant, Vicki Wilson, Carissa Dalwood and Nicole Cusack to name just a few.
The rules are simple. There are seven players in each team and each player has a position. The positions are:- Goal Shooter, Goal Attack , Wing Attack, Centre, Wing Defence, Goal Defence and Goal Keeper.
Each position is quite specialised and has a specific purpose. For example, only the Goal Shooter and Goal Attack are allowed to shoot the goals and only the Centre can restart the game after each goal is scored.
Limited body contact is allowed and you must give the player who has the ball a distance of 1 metre before you can defend.
Each position is limited to certain areas of the court and the ball must be touched by a player in each third on its way to the shooters.
Games are generally played in four quarters. There are many variations including indoor netball, five-a-side netball and social netball played in the off season.
Special rule adaptations are made for children. For 5 to 7 year old girls and boys there is Fun Net and for 8 to 10 year olds, there is Netta.
With an emphasis on participation, developing skills and enjoyment, Fun Net allows for a gradual introduction to the game. There is no organised competition structure and there are no winners or losers, but rewards are given for participation and improvement. The equipment is modified so that children can obtain maximum enjoyment from playing Fun Net. Goal posts are only 2.4metres high and a size 4 netball or spongy ball is used. Designed especially for 5 to 7 year olds, Fun Net develops general motor skills, balance, co-ordination, footwork and ball handling skills while concentrating on netball for fun.
A size 4 ball is used to develop correct passing and catching skills with up to six seconds allowed between catching and passing the ball (it is three seconds in the adult game). All players rotate positions throughout the game so that they can experience the difference with each position. It is more in line with the adult game than Fun Net and is the natural stage between Fun Net and adult netball which is played by children over I I years of age.
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