What is Netball?


Netball is a team sport similar to basketball, without dribbling or backboards. Players pass the ball to their teammates to move it up the court. Once the ball is in the last third of the court, players attempt to shoot the ball in the goal. There is no tight defense allowed in this game, meaning players cannot steal the ball. Defenders must give players with the ball at least three feet of space.


Women formed netball after basketball became a popular sport among men. The first game of netball was played in 1895 in England, at Madame Ostenburg’s College. In 1960 the International Federation of Women’s Basketball and Netball was formed, creating a governing body for the sport. In 1985, netball was recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee. In 2012, the netball governing body was established. Today, the governing body is called The International Netball Federation.

Playing Surface

netball playing surface

Netball can be played on different surfaces both indoors and outdoors. The most common surfaces to play on are tarmac, rubber, and hardwood courts. A tarmac netball court is hard and feels similar to an asphalt road. Netball requires a certain type of tarmac floor that is all-weather and reduces slipping. A rubber surface is common both indoors and outdoors. It is softer than tarmac, which gives athletes more cushion, resulting in less stress on the knees. A surface that is only used inside is hardwood floor. These floors are used for indoor netball competitions.

Netball Equipment

Netball Equipment

The equipment for netball is pretty basic, with little equipment required for gameplay. Proper goal posts with a net are essential. When choosing a ball, popular netball ball brands include Gilbert or Mitre. Be sure to select a suitable playing surface like the ones listed above that has proper lines for gameplay. Gear should include comfortable athletic clothes including a bib or jersey and shoes with proper ankle support. Low sneakers are not ideal for netball, as the risk of twisting an ankle is increased.

Here is the essential netball equipment you should have:

  • Ball
  • Goal Posts
  • Bibs or jerseys
  • Playing surface with lines
  • Shoes


The objective of netball is to score more goals than the opposing team. A netball goal looks similar to a basketball hoop, but without a backboard. A team must pass the ball towards their opponent’s goal without dribbling. Since there is no backboard, players must be close to the goal to shoot and score. There are four fifteen-minute quarters, for a total of 60 minutes of gameplay. There are only certain players allowed to shoot the ball depending on their position. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Rules and Regulations

Netball Rules and Regulations

Netball has similar rules to basketball and ultimate frisbee. For players to advance the ball up the court, they must pass the ball. Dribbling is not allowed in netball. Once a player has possession, they are only allowed to take one step. They must keep one foot planted at all times when they have possession of the ball, if they do not it will result in a turnover. When a player has the ball, they can only hold it for three seconds before they must pass to another teammate.

Netball has particular defensive rules. Defenders must remain three feet from the player with the ball. Although netball does not allow contact, it can sometimes get physical. Inappropriate contact will result in a penalty for the team with the ball. The netball court is split into three sections and, based on their positions, players must remain in those sections. Only two players out of seven on each team are allowed to shoot the ball. These positions are called the goal shooter and the goal attack. The ball cannot be thrown over a complete third of the court, and must be moved through all three sections and touched by at least one player in each third.

Here are the most important netball rules you should know:

  • Seven players on each team
  • Must always keep one foot planted on the floor when in possession of the ball
  • Can only hold the ball for three seconds
  • Over a third rule: the ball must be touched in all three sections of the court. The ball cannot cross over two lines on the floor without a player touching the ball.


The most important strategy in netball is teamwork. Since players cannot move with the ball, the only way to advance is to pass the ball forward to a teammate. Another strategy is to keep an eye on the play and be sure to maintain the proper position when on the court. This helps with spacing and getting in open areas for a teammate to pass to you. Since netball is a team sport, communication amongst teammates is very important. Calling for the ball and communicating positioning on the court is crucial in netball.

Here are the most important netball strategies you should know:

  • Teamwork
  • Court Awareness
  • Communication


Netball Lingo

Here is some of the common lingo and slang used in netball:

  • Bibs: A bib is the jersey that a player wears which has the initials of their position on it.
  • Obstruction: When a defender gets too close to the player with the ball. They must remain three feet away from the player with the ball.
  • Positions: There are seven different positions in netball: goal shooter, goal attack, wing attack, center, wing defense, goal defense, and goalkeeper.
  • Pivot: The action of moving while still keeping one foot planted to the floor. Since players must keep one foot on the floor when they have possession of the ball, players will pivot using one foot in order to see the different areas of the court.


Netball Players

Some of the best netball players are from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The largest leagues in the world are female leagues, as women make up the majority of netball players. One of the best players in the world, Gretel Tippett, shoots around 96% from the field. There is also Caitlin Bassett, the captain of the Australian netball team. She has won multiple gold medals as a netball player.

Here are the most famous netball players you should know:

  • Gretel Tippett: Current member of the Queensland Firebirds and was named to the Super Netball Team of the year in 2018 and 2019.
  • Laura Langman: Former captain of the New Zealand national team and holds the record for most games played for the national team as well.
  • Caitlin Bassett: Two time Netball World Champion for team Australia and current member of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.


There are three large leagues for netball in the world and they are located in countries where netball is very popular. They are called the Netball Superleague in the UK, The Suncorp Super Netball League in Australia, and The ANZ Premiership Netball League in New Zealand.   The largest netball league is the one in the UK with 11 teams, the Australian league has eight teams, and the New Zealand league has six. The Netball Superleague is the oldest league, and was founded in 2005.

Here are the most popular netball leagues you should know:

  • Netball Superleague: Located in the UK, this is the largest netball league in the world with 11 teams.
  • Suncorp Super Netball: Netball league in Australia that has eight teams and its inaugural season was in 2017.
  • ANZ Premiership Netball: Located in New Zealand this is the smallest of the three leagues with only six teams.


netball events

The largest event in netball is the Netball World Cup. New Zealand won the most recent World Cup in 2019, with Australia coming in second. Australia, New Zealand, and Trinidad and Tobago are the only countries to win the World Cup. There are many other national competitions as well. For example, netball is an event in the Commonwealth Games. There is also a Youth World Cup and World University Netball Championships.

Here are the most popular tournaments in Netball:

  • Netball World Cup: This is the largest netball event as the world’s best teams come together in one location for competition.
  • Commonwealth Games: The Commonwealth Games are a collection of sports, with netball included in this event. All of the best netball teams are in the Commonwealth Games.


How high are the netball goals above the ground?

In netball the goal is ten feet above the ground, with the rim having a diameter of 15 inches.

How many players are on the court at a time?

Each team has seven players on the floor at a time which is a  total of 14 players on the court.

What country has won the most World Cups?

Australia has won 11 World Cups and New Zealand is in second with five.

Is netball a contact sport?

Although defenders must give at least three feet of space to the player with the ball, netball can get very physical with elbows and arms swinging to try and block the ball.