Netball derived from basketball and in fact it used to be called women's basketball when I was a pup. Apparently it resulted from some confusion when the rules of the new game of basketball was imported into Britain in the late 1890s. It was then developed as a more lady-like version suitable for English school girls via strict non-contact rules and limitations on the amount of movement around the court. This therefore minimised the exertion the 'gels' were exposed to and also of course minimised their perspiration...er I mean their "glow".
Things have changed a little since then. Although players are still only allowed to take one step with the ball and the court limitations on each position remain, the game is now high paced, extremely energetic and, judging by the amount of times I fall down on court, far from lady-like! Its a great game and is now apparently the number 2 participant sport in Australia (after golf). Its the number one women's sport in the world and now even the guys are getting into the act.
As you can see, netball is played with seven players on each team on a court that is divided into three sections, plus two goal circles and a centre circle.
The following is a list of positions and what each one does:
Basically the object of the game is to get the ball from the centre (where the action starts) to one of the goalies (i.e. GS or GA) in the goal circle and for them to shoot a goal which is worth one point. The ball returns to the centre after each goal and the centres of each team take it in turns throwing the ball off.
You can take one step with the ball but must throw it before you put the next foot down again. There is no dribbling (except by the male spectators who are just there for the short skirts).
You can defend the ball from three feet away from the person who has the ball. Any closer than this, or if you contact the player you give away a free.
I began my netball life for Kangarilla at the age of about 6 or 7 and played at WD in a team that was all much older than me. Then when we were able to get together a junior team of my age group I played lots of places including GA before my blossoming height relegated me to a goal defensive role. And there I pretty much stayed, playing GD and GK before age finally dictated that I remain back as keeper for the rest of my days (see pic).
Goal Keeper is a great spot although I didn't think so when I was a little younger and wanted to run. Its the last line of defence and so has a lot of responsibility associated with it. Its also a bit of a mind game back there, involving a degree of out-thinking and out-psyching your opponent who is normally the best goal scorer of the team. But the great thing about netball is that it is very much a team game. If the rest of the team isn't playing well then however well you are playing is pretty much irrelevant so this means that usually there are no real stars, just good team players. That's why I particularly think it is a great game for youngsters.
I have played in 4 or 5 states in Australia and many more clubs as my job has taken me round the country. I do remember playing in a very satisfying premiership win in Western Australia with the Padbury Netball Club back in 1991 which was a highlight. By far the majority of my time has been spent playing for the Kangarilla Netball Club in the Southern Hills Netball League, my first and most recent club. I won premierships at Kangy in juniors (D grade 1977) and seniors (B grade 1978; A2 1979) but by far the highlight was playing in an A1 winning premiership in 1986 (I think!). Some of those who played back then are still playing for Kangy.
The picture (left) is of the Kangarilla A1 team in the last game in 1999. Back Row (from left) Sue, Sherry, Ruth, Kelly, Annie. Front Row: Alice, Brooke, Warriordoc.
Now I have a chance to play in a whole 'nother country! Netball has finally returned to the place it all began and although most folks in the US have never heard of it, a lot of expats from Commonwealth countries have got together to form various leagues. While surfing the web for links for my site I even found a team here in my area, the Tidewater Stars Netball Club. This is their inaugural year and I am proud to be a member of this fledgling club. We have played two games so far against the Washington Steppers, and although we lost both times we are showing signs of improvement. I have put some pics from these games in a photo album entitled Tidewater Netball.
Australia is the current World Champion in netball having beaten the Kiwis in a heart
stopper at last years World
Championships in Auckland. Though mostly played in Commonwealth countries,
the game is spreading, and even the the US entered the Worlds last year. This can only be good for
the game and the level of competition. After all, Australia needs some ;-)
For more information about this great game, try the following sites:
And don't forget the film that my brother and I are preparing - SCORING, a film about sex, drugs...and netball! The definitive netball film.
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