How to Play Netball in NZ: A Beginner’s Guide

ANZ Championship: A Comprehensive Guide to Netball in NZ​

Netball is a famous sport in New Zealand, with over 100,000 registered players across the country. It is a fast-paced and exciting game that requires speed, agility, and teamwork. There are numerous benefits to it, including mental health growth and fitness. Are you interested in learning how to play netball? This beginner’s guide will provide you with the basics of the game.

Netball is a highly popular sport in New Zealand, boasting more than 100,000 registered players nationwide. This fast-paced and thrilling game demands speed, agility, and a strong sense of teamwork. Aside from its inherent excitement, netball also offers a variety of benefits, such as fostering mental health growth and promoting physical fitness. With practice and dedication, anyone can learn to play netball.

Understanding the Rules of Netball

Rules are essential when learning how to play netball. Netball is played on a rectangular court with two teams of seven players each. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting the ball through a hoop, which is located at each end of the court. Players can move the ball around the court by passing it to their teammates, but they are not allowed to run with the ball.

Rules to note as you learn how to play netball include.

  • The ball must be passed within three seconds of receiving it.
  • Players can only hold the ball for three seconds before they must pass or shoot it.
  • Players are not allowed to contact each other on the court.

Learning the Positions in Netball

To know how to play netball, you must understand the seven positions in the game and their specific roles on the court. Understanding the positions and their roles is crucial to playing netball in NZ confidently. The positions are.

  • Goal shooter (GS): The GS is responsible for shooting goals and is located in the shooting circle.
  • Goal attack (GA): The GA works with the GS to shoot goals and helps move the ball up the court.
  • Wing attack (WA): The WA is responsible for feeding the ball to the shooters and helping to move the ball up the court.
  • Centre (C): The centre is the link between the attacking and defending players and helps to control the flow of the game.
  • Wing defence (WD): The WD’s primary role is to defend the opposing team’s WA and help to disrupt their attacking play.
  • Goal defence (GD): The GD works with the WD to defend the opposing team’s attacking players and prevent them from scoring goals.
  • Goalkeeper (GK): The GK is responsible for defending the opposing team’s GS and preventing them from scoring goals.

Basic Skills and Drills for Netball

You need to develop some basic skills such as passing, shooting, and defending when learning how to play netball. One of the most critical skills in netball is passing, as it is how the ball is moved around the court. Some common passing techniques are the chest pass, bounce pass, and overhead pass.

Shooting is another essential skill to know as you master how to play netball, and it requires accuracy and technique. To shoot the ball, you need to be in the shooting circle and aim for the hoop. There are different shooting techniques, such as the goal shooter’s shot, which is a high, accurate shot, and the goal attack’s shot, which is quicker and more agile.

Defending is also a critical skill when learning how to play netball, and it requires agility and quick reflexes. Defenders need to anticipate their opponent’s moves and be able to intercept passes or disrupt the opposing team’s attacking play.

Game time and structure

In netball, a game is divided into four equal periods called quarters. Each quarter lasts for 15 minutes, making the total game time 60 minutes. Throughout each quarter, both teams strive to score as many goals as they can by skillfully shooting the ball into their opponent’s goal ring. It’s an exciting and intense competition that demands quick reflexes and agile movements.

Quarter breaks

Quarter breaks offer players the opportunity to rest, rehydrate, and receive instructions from their coaches. The duration of quarter breaks may vary depending on the level of play and the tournament’s regulations. In professional netball matches, there may also be additional breaks, such as timeouts, to allow coaches to provide tactical instructions or make substitutions.

Start and restart the game with a center pass

 A center pass is a method of starting or restarting the game after a goal has been scored or at the beginning of each quarter. The team that has the center pass is determined by a coin toss before the game begins, and the teams alternate taking center passes throughout the match.

To start a center pass, the player with the ball stands in the center circle of the court. All other players must be in their designated thirds of the court, and the opposing team must be at least 3 feet away from the player taking the center pass. Once the whistle blows, the player taking the center pass must pass the ball to a teammate who is either standing in the center third of the court or is running into that third from the goal third.

After a goal has been scored, the team that was scored against takes the center pass to restart the game. If a goal has not been scored, the team that had possession of the ball when the quarter ended takes the center pass at the start of the next quarter. Teams often strategize around the center pass to gain an advantage over their opponents.

Equipment for playing netball

The game of netball is a fairly straightforward sport that you do not need a lot of equipment for. All you need to play is a netball, a hoop, or a goalpost, and comfortable athletic wear.

The netball itself refers to a ball that is slightly smaller and lighter than a basketball and has a rougher surface for better grip. The hoop or goal post is typically made of metal or plastic and has a ring at the top where the netball can be shot through. The height of the hoop depends on the age and skill level of the players. For example, the hoop is set at 10 feet for professional and international play, but it may be lowered for younger or less experienced players.

To be well-prepared for netball, players need to dress comfortably in athletic wear that facilitates movement. This includes breathable shorts or leggings and a loose-fitting shirt. It’s also important to wear supportive athletic shoes that provide good traction on the court. Other optional equipment that players may use include kneepads to protect their knees during falls or dives and a whistle for coaches or referees to signal the start and stop of play.

Winning in Netball

By scoring more goals than the opposing team, a win can be achieved in netball. Goals are made by shooting the netball through the opponent’s goal ring. Each team must strategize on how to get the ball past the opposing team’s defenders and shooters to achieve this objective. Quick reflexes, teamwork, and efficient communication are essential components in winning the game of netball.

Obstructing in netball

When a player illegally interferes with the free movement of an opponent or positions themselves too close to them, obstructing occurs in netball. This action is punishable by a free pass being awarded to the affected player’s team.

Defenders must keep a distance of at least three feet from their opponents to avoid obstructing them and prevent them from advancing the ball up the court. It is critical to maintain awareness of the court’s spatial relationships and positioning at all times to avoid obstruction.

Skills in netball

To excel in netball, mastering fundamental skills such as passing, shooting, and defending is essential. Passing is a crucial aspect of the game as it allows the ball to be circulated around the court. You can utilize different passing techniques, such as the chest pass, overhead pass, and bounce pass, to outmaneuver your opponents.

Shooting accurately is another vital skill to develop in netball, and it requires proper technique and precision. You must aim for the hoop while in the shooting circle. Various shooting methods are available, including the goal shooter’s high-accuracy shot and the goal attack’s swift and agile shot.

To be successful in netball, defending skill is critical. It demands agility, quick reflexes, and the ability to anticipate the opponent’s actions. Defenders should have the ability to intercept passes and disrupt the opponent’s attacking play by disrupting their space. In conclusion, developing these skills is vital to becoming a successful netball player.


Netball is a fun and exciting sport. What’s better? Anyone can learn how to play netball. By understanding the rules of the game, learning the positions, and developing your skills, you can know how to play netball confidently and competently. We recommend plenty of practice and consistency, as both are necessary to mastering the process.

Netball is an incredibly exciting and popular sport in New Zealand, with over 100,000 registered players nationwide. It demands speed, agility, and teamwork from players, and provides a range of benefits including physical fitness and mental health growth.

Anyone can learn to play netball with practice and dedication. Mastering fundamental skills such as passing, shooting, and defending is crucial to excelling in netball. Developing quick reflexes, efficient communication, and spatial awareness are also key components of the game.

With its straightforward equipment requirements and accessibility to all, netball is a fantastic sport for people of all ages and abilities.

Netball Hoop