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In 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts a 30-year-old Canadian immigrant to the USA, James Naismith, was ordered to invent an indoor game for high-spirited young men at the School for Christian Workers (later the YMCA). By 1960, international playing rules had been standardised for the game, and the International Federation of Netball and Women's Basketball (later renamed the International Netball Federation (INF)) was formed. As of 2011, the INF comprises more than 60 national teams organized into five global regions.

Games are played on a rectangular court with raised goal rings at each end. Each team attempts to score goals by passing a ball down the court and shooting it through its goal ring. Players are assigned specific positions, which define their roles within the team and restrict their movement to certain areas of the court. During general play, a player with the ball can hold onto it for only three seconds before shooting for a goal or passing to another player. The winning team is the one that scores the most goals. Netball games are 60 minutes long. Variations have been developed to increase the game's pace and appeal to a wider audience.
Netball is most popular in Commonwealth nations, specifically in schools, and is predominantly played by women. According to the INF, netball is played by more than 20 million people in more than 80 countries. Three major competitions take place internationally: the quadrennial World Netball Championships, the Commonwealth Games, and the yearly World Netball Series. In 1995, netball became an International OlymoicCommitte recognised sport, but it has not been played at the Olympics.


Netball emerged from early versions of basketball and evolved into its own sport as the number of women participating in sports increased. Basketball was invented in 1891 by James NIsmith in the United States. He was ordered to invent an indoor game for high-spirited young men at the School for Christian Workers (later the YMCA). Most games tried ended with injury rates of staggering proportions! So Naismith conjured up a game whereby a ball had to be lobbed into a high peach basket (his reasoning being that if a ball had to dropped into the "goal", it couldn't be thrown at breakneck speed). Basketball was born, with the original game featuring nine players - three forwards, three centres and three guards - simply because Naismith had 18 youths to keep amused. Women's indoor basketball began exactly two days later when female teachers to the gym were captivated by the game but it wasn't until 1895 that the current game of netball was well and truly shaped. When Clara Baer, a sports teacher in New Orleans, wrote to Naismith asking for a copy of the rules, the subsequent rules package contained a drawing of the court with lines pencilled across it, simply to show the areas various players could best patrol. But Baer misinterpreted the lines and thought players couldn't leave those areas! In 1899 her mistake was ratified into the rules of women's basketball as zones. Three-bounce dribbling had quickly been extended in the men's game (which didn't have no-go zones), but it was seldom used in the women's version when it reached Britain and the Empire. In fact, there was no pressure to increase that form of ball movement and in the end dribbling simply ceased to exist.

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Netball was first played in England in 1895 at Madame Ostenburg's College. She introduced a version of basketball in 1893 to her female students at the Physical Training College in Hampsted, London. The rules of the game were modified at the college over several years: the game moved outdoors and was played on grass; the baskets were replaced by rings that had nets; and in 1897 and 1899, rules from women's basketball in the United States were incorporated. Madame Österberg's new sport acquired the name "net ball". The first codified rules of netball were published in 1901 by the Ling Association, later the Physical Education Association of the United KIngdom. From England, netball spread to other countries in the British Empire. Variations of the rules and even names for the sport arose in different areas: "women's (outdoor) basketball" arrived in Australia around 1900 and in New Zealand from 1906, while "netball" was being played in Jamaican schools by 1909.

From the start, it was considered socially appropriate for women to play netball; netball's restricted movement appealed to contemporary notions of women's participation in sports, and the sport was distinct from potential rival male sports. Netball became a popular women's sport in countries where it was introduced and spread rapidly through school systems. School leagues and domestic competitions emerged during the first half of the 20th century, and in 1924 the first national governing body was established in New Zealand. International competition was initially hampered by a lack of funds and varying rules in different countries. Australia hosted New Zealand in the first international game of netball in Melbourne on 20 August 1938; Australia won 40–11. Efforts began in 1957 to standardise netball rules globally: by 1960 international playing rules had been standardised, and the International Federation of Netball and Women's Basketball, later the International Netball Federation (INF), was formed to administer the sport worldwide.

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Representatives from England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the West Indies were part of a 1960 meeting in Sri Lanka that standardised the rules for the game. The game spread to other African countries in the 1970s. South Africa was prohibited from competing internationally from 1969 to 1994 due to apartheid. In the United States, Netball's popularity also increased during the 1970s, particularly in the New York area, and the United States of America Netball Association was created in 1992. The game also became popular in the Pacific Island nations of the Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa during the 1970s. Netball Singapore was created in 1962, and the Malaysian Netball Association was created in 1978.
In Australia, the term women's basketball was used to refer to both netball and basketball. During the 1950s and 1960s, a movement arose to change the Australian name of the game from women's basketball to netball in order to avoid confusion between the two sports. The Australian Basketball Union offered to pay the costs involved to alter the name, but the netball organisation rejected the change. In 1970, the Council of the All Australia Netball Association officially changed the name to "netball" in Australia.
In 1963, the first international tournament was held in Eastbourne, England. Originally called the World Tournament, it later became known as the World Netball Championships.

The World Netball Championships have been held every four years since, most recently in 2011. The World Youth Netball Championships started in Canberra in 1988, and have been held roughly every four years since. In 1995, the International Olympic Comittee designated netball as an Olympic recognised sport. Three years later it debuted at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. Other international competitions also emerged in the late 20th century, including the Nations Cup and the Asian Netball Championship.

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Netball rules

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Netball is played on a rectangular court, which is divided into areas called thirds. There are two goal thirds and between them is the centre third. The centre circleis in the middle of the centre third and this is where play begins. At the end of each goal third is a goal circle, which is actually a semi-circle around the goal hoop. All goals must be shot by a player within the goal circle.
The teams have a goal post each and can only score by shooting the ball through their own hoop.
Each player is allowed in a specified area of the court and the lines on the court are part of the playing area.

Teams consist of seven players who fill these positions:

  • Goal Keeper - opposes the Goal Shooter, plays in the opposition's goal third
  • Goal Defence - opposes the Goal Attack, plays in the opposition's goal third and the centre third
  • Wing Defence - opposes the Wing Attack, plays in the opposition's goal third (but not the goal circle)
    and the centre third
  • Centre - opposes the Centre, plays in all three thirds, but not the goal circles
  • Wing Attack - opposes the Wing Defence, plays in her team's goal third (but not the goal circle)
    and the centre third
  • Goal Attack - opposes the Goal Defence, plays in her team's goal third and the centre third,
    shoots in the goal circle
  • Goal Shooter - opposes the Goal Keeper, plays in her team's goal third, shoots in the goal circle

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Starting play
Play is started with a pass from the centre circle – this is called the centre pass. There is a centre pass at the beginning of each quarter and half, and after each goal is scored. The teams take turns making the centre pass. The person making the centre pass must stand in the centre circle. The opposing centre can stand anywhere in the centre third but all other players must stay in the goal thirds (behind the middle third lines) until the umpire blows the whistle to start play. The centre pass has to be received in the centre third.

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Each player is allowed in only a certain area of the court. If a player steps into an area or any part of their body touches the ground in an area their playing position is not allowed to go, will be ruled offside.

Once a player has landed with the ball, the first landed foot is called the grounded foot and must either stay on the ground or in the air until the ball is passed on. Regrounding that same foot a second time while still in possession of the ball is a step which will result in a free pass to the opposition. Similarly, a hop, slide or drag of the grounded foot is not permitted.

Playing the ball
Once the ball has been caught, the player must pass it or shoot for goal within three seconds.

When a player is defending another player or trying to intercept the ball they must be at least 0.9 metres away from the grounded foot of the player who has the ball.

A player is not allowed to physically contact an opponent if it disrupts or stops that person from playing. Pushing the ball out of an opponent’s hands is also not permitted.

Penalty pass or shot
For contact, obstruction or moving the goalpost penalties, the offending player must stand down from play, away from the thrower and where the umpire has indicated. A goal shooter or goal attack taking the penalty pass or shot in the goal circle can either pass the ball or shoot for goal.

Throw in
When the ball goes out of court, the umpire takes note of which team touched it last. The throw in is then taken by a player from the opposing team close to where the ball went out of court. Standing close to the line from the outside of court, the player has three seconds to get the ball back in play.

Two umpires have control of the game and make the on-court decisions about the run of play.

Netball Game - Rules Introduction

Vídeo de YouTube

Let's simplify all the rules in eight simple points:

1. You cannot travel with the ball.

2. There are only 7 players on court from each team at all times unless a player has been sent off by the referee.

3. You cannot snatch or hit the ball out of a players hands. This is called contact. You must stand beside the player until the ball has left the players hands.

4. When defending the ball, you must stand 3 feet away from the person with the ball.
5. Players cannot hold the ball for more than 3 seconds. This includes throwing it the air, no-one else touches it and you catch it again. Or bouncing the ball.
6. Players are not allowed to move into the areas that they are not designated to.
7. When the defense in the circle are called up by the referee, they have to stand beside the shooter. The shooter has the decision of shooting the ball or passing the ball.
8. When the ball goes out of court, the team who last touched the ball hands the ball over to the opposing team. They have 3 seconds to stand outside of the court at the line where it went out and pass the ball.