OBJECTIVE OF NETBALL: Score more points than the opposing team by throwing the ball through the 10-foot-high ring on your end of the court.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 14 players, 7 on each team
MATERIALS: 2 nets on either side of the court, netball
TYPE OF GAME: Sport
OVERVIEW OF NETBALL
Netball is an exciting game played on a court. The sport originated in England, and today, it is most popular in the British Commonwealth. Netball players will pass the ball down the court and attempt to shoot the ball into the hoop, scoring a point.
A netball court is 100 feet long and 50 feet wide with side lines and goal lines marking the out of bounds area. In addition, 2 traverse lines separate the court into equal thirds. A center circle also marks the center point of the court, and 2 goal circles arcing over the ring.
Unlike in similar sports like basketball, each player in netball has specific areas of the court that they are designated to stay in. Each player will also be marked with the initials of their position on their back.
Goal Keeper (GK): The role of the goalkeeper is to prevent the goal shooter and goal attack from shooting the ball through the net. The goalkeeper is required to stay in the defensive third of the court nearest to their net.
Goal Defense (GD): The goal defense is essentially the backup for the goalkeeper. They also defend their net and prevent the attacking players from scoring points. Although the goal defense is limited to the defensive third and the center third of the court, they are the only other defensive player besides the goalkeeper who can enter the goal circle.
Wing Defense (WD): The wing defense is another defensive player that prevents the opposing team from advancing the ball to the goal circle. They are generally good at intercepting the ball as well. The wing defense is allowed to play in the back two-thirds of the court, but unlike the goal defense, they can not enter the goal circle.
Center (C): The center is the only player allowed to move freely across the entire court. However, the center cannot enter the goal circles on either side of the court. The center is a pivotal player that can play both defense and offense. Their main role is to switch the possession of the ball from the opposing team to their team.
Wing Attack (WA): The wing attack is the support player for the goal shooter and goal attack. Although they cannot score points, they will create openings and scoring opportunities for the two main offensive players. The wing attack is allowed in the offensive and center third of the court, but they are not allowed in the goal circle.
Goal Attack (GA): The goal attack works closely with the goal shooter to create goal-scoring opportunities. They primarily will pass the ball to the goal shooter, but the goal attack is also allowed to shoot and score goals. The goal attack is allowed in the offensive and center thirds of the court and is allowed to enter the goal circle.
Goal Shooter (GS): The goal shooter is the primary goal scorer for a netball team. They are generally the best at making baskets and will work with the wing attack and goal attack to shoot the ball towards the ring. They are only allowed to play in the offensive third of the court.
Netball is played in a match of four 15-minute quarters. After each quarter, the teams will switch ends of the court.
A netball match starts with a coin toss. The winning team starts with the ball. All players must be in their proper positions when the game starts. To start the play, the center attempts to throw the ball from the center circle to another teammate. This is called a center pass and takes place any time a goal is scored or a new quarter starts.
Players are only allowed to hold the ball for 3 seconds before they must either pass or shoot the ball. Failure to do so will result in the opposing team getting a free shot.
The ball also must not skip a third of the court. So, for example, if a player passes from the defensive third of the court to the offensive third, the player must first pass the ball to a player in the center third.
Unlike in basketball, where any player is technically allowed to score a point, in netball, only the goal attack and goal shooter are allowed to shoot the ball. These players must shoot the ball from within the goal circle. For the goal to be considered legal, the ball must go through the ring from above.
Blocking a player in netball is referred to as marking. When a defensive player marks a player who has possession of the ball, they must stand 3 feet away. If a player breaks this rule, an obstruction is called. The defender must stand out of play, and the ball carrier gets to make a free pass or a free shot if they are a scoring player.
An advantage is called when a penalty has occurred, but the player that has been obstructed decides to carry on with play rather than stop and take a free pass or shot. If a goal is scored during the infringement, the umpire will allow the obstruction to go without a penalty, but if a goal is not scored, the referee will give the obstructed player a free pass or shot.
When the ball goes past the side line or the goal line, it is thrown back into play by the team that did not touch the ball last. The ball is thrown back in from roughly the same spot it went out of play.
END OF GAME
The team with the most points after four quarters is the winner. If a netball game is tied after four quarters, the game goes into sudden death. A coin is tossed again to determine the team that makes the first center pass, and the first team to score a goal wins.
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