Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Globe Trotting: Netball

Contributed by Emma Booth.
Regional Director, USA Sport Group.

When I was in school, everybody wanted to be on the netball team, more than they actually wanted to get good grades or friends... At least, that’s what I told people when I had poor grades and no friends. But hey, at least I made it onto the netball team...

Netball is one of the most popular participant sports around the world, and is the world’s most popular female team sport. It is played mainly by girls and women, and there are seven players on the court at any one time for each team; goalkeeper, goal defense, wing defense, center, wing attack, goal attack and goal shooter. These positions have set areas they can move around in on the netball court, which is split into thirds. A goal shooter, for example cannot run all the way up the other end, they have to stay in the attacking third.

Netball is a lot like basketball… without the bouncing. Players cannot move with the ball, but the aim is still to get the ball up to court and score points from inside the circle (similar to the D) by shooting into the net. Netball is very fast paced and although it is officially a non-contact sport, it can become a little bit violent, especially when hair-pulling and nail scratching gets involved!

Netball is not as popular in the US as the rest of the world; especially in the southern hemisphere, with Australia dominating the World Netball Championships since 1963! Many countries have leagues now, and it is becoming more and more recognized as a professional sport. The only gripe with some people is that Netball should be played at the Summer Olympics due to its immense popularity. It did become recognized as an Olympic Sport in 1995, which means hopefully one day, it will be included in the world’s greatest sporting tournament.

For more information on netball, visit USA Netball.

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