5 main rules of netball

5 main rules of netball

Netball and basketball difference

Netball is just like basketball, right? Every netball player knows that this statement is far from the truth. When it comes to netball and basketball differences there are many. Netball and basketball are like sisters, similar in their origins yet completely different!

Want to know more about the origins of netball – click here.

So, let’s delve into the 5 main rules of netball to show how it differs from its sports sister, basketball.

1. You cannot run with the ball in netball

Any on-looker will be able to see that a main netball and basketball difference is the ability to run and dribble the ball in basketball versus the player remaining stationary with the ball in netball.

While this is technically true, a player can move with the ball in netball.

A netball and basketball difference is the netball stepping rule. In netball, the player has a landing foot and a stepping foot. You cannot move your landing foot, but you can turn 360 degrees with your stepping foot. This short video shows clearly the netball stepping rule and how you can move your stepping foot.

As you become more confident with your netball footwork you can move your feet quickly as you look to pass the ball. For example, you catch the ball while running and continue to run while going through the – land, step, throw, step motion. In this footwork sequence, make sure you have released the ball before you step again. Should you step again or move your landing foot before releasing the ball, this would be classed as footwork.

So next time you hit the netball court, don’t be tempted to stand still like a statue. Move your upper body and practice stepping around your landing foot to keep your opponent guessing and the game fluid.

2. The three-second rule

Netball is a fast-paced sport mainly thanks to the three-second rule. When a player receives a pass, is taking a shot or a penalty throw, they have three seconds to release the ball. This keeps the game keeps moving at a pace and the potential recipient must work hard to provide a clear option for the thrower.

If a player does not release the ball after three seconds, the umpire will call “held ball” and it is a turnover ball with the opposing team gaining possession.

The three-second rule in netball means attackers must develop dodging skills to get free for their teammates. Defence is also a key element of this main rule of netball. If you can stay with your opponent and not let them get free, you’ll block the opportunity for a pass and a “held ball” call could go in your favour.

3. The three feet rule

In netball, you must keep your feet, three feet away from your opponent when they have the ball. Three feet is the equivalent of 0.9m, and this distance is measured from the landing foot of the player in possession of the ball.

If a player is pulled for “distance” the player must stand by the side of the player with the ball, so they are effectively out of the game.

Defenders must wait until they are three feet away before they raise their arms to try and disrupt the play or intercept the ball. Players can jump up in front of their opponent but must remain three feet away.

5 main rules of netball

Shamera Sterling, a Jamaican international, is a master at staying three feet away while tipping or intercepting the ball. Her agility and skill are world-class, and she is one to study if you want to perfect the three feet rule of netball. Watch Shamera’s defensive skills in our blog, “netball videos you need to see“.

4. Netball is a contest sport

Many people think a netball and basketball difference is that players can’t touch one another in netball. Watch two minutes of a game, however, and you’ll question this theory. Netball is a physical, contest sport where players challenge constantly for the ball and space. While you cannot wrestle a player to the ground or push them out of the way with intent, you can contest a ball with even force.

The official England Netball rule is that when attacking, defending or playing the ball you can come into physical contact with another player. You cannot interfere with each other’s play or use their bodies to gain an advantage. If it is deemed to be fair content, play continues.

5. Where can players go in netball?

Although both sports are played on a rectangular court, probably one of the biggest netball and basketball differences is that in basketball players can cover the whole court, whereas, in netball, players are restricted to certain zones of the court. To find out where players can go in netball, head to our All You Need to Know About Netball blog.

Netball is a game of skill, agility and tactical awareness. Players need explosive strength plus aerobic and anaerobic fitness to keep presenting for the ball, defending and making interceptions for their team. Familiarise yourself with these 5 main rules of netball before you hit the court and when someone next questions the main netball and basket differences, send them this way!

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