Netball is a ball sport played by two teams of seven players. Games are played on a rectangular court with raised goal rings at each end.
The object is to score goals from within a defined area, by throwing a ball into a ring attached to a 3.05 metres (10 feet) high post.
Players are assigned specific positions, which define their roles within the team and restrict their movement to certain areas of the court. During general play, a player with the ball can hold onto it for only three seconds before shooting for a goal or passing to another player.
The winning team is the one that scores the most goals. Netball games are 60 minutes long but variations have been developed to increase the game’s pace and appeal to a wider audience.
Netball is played by more than 20 million people in more than 80 countries worldwide and is most popular in Commonwealth nations. It is predominantly played by women.
In 1995 netball became a recognised sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Netball is the most popular women’s sport in Australia with an estimated one million players nationwide.
Although traditionally identified as a sport for women, there is no reason why it can’t be played with mixed teams and more boys and men are becoming increasingly involved.
Australia’s major domestic competition is Suncorp Super Netball.
Safety tips for netball
- Good preparation is important
- Undertake training prior to competition to ensure readiness to play.
- Always warm up, stretch and cool down. A recent netball study found that not warming up before a game increases the risk of injury by 48%.
- Undergo fitness programs to develop aerobic fitness, strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.
- Good technique and practices will help prevent injury
- Participate in training programs to improve body balance (using wobble boards or balance mats). Poor balance may increase the risk of injury.
- Learn correct passing, catching and landing techniques. Incorrect landing may increase the risk of injury to the knee. Further information on landing is available in the University of Ballarat Down to Earth – A Practical Guide to Safe and Effective Landing in Netball publication, available at http://www.smartplay.com.au.
- Coaches should undertake regular reaccreditation and education to ensure their knowledge is kept up-to-date.
- Accredited umpires and adherence to the rules decreases the risk of contact and injury.
- Wear the right protective equipment
- Seek professional advice on footwear.
- Consider preventive ankle taping or bracing to reduce injury risks.
And remember the best competition surface is always going to be sprung timber sports flooring.
With more give and more bounce, it makes for a faster safer game.