Teams shall consist of 7 play ers. There must be at least 5 play ers, one of whom must play centre, to enable the f ixture to go ahead.
Substitutions can only be made at half time or when a play er is injured. There is no limit to the number of substitutions that a team can make.
If y ou start a match with 5 or 6 play ers but more members of y our team arriv e af ter the game has started, they must wait until the next centre
pass bef ore being allowed to join the game.
Playing positions and their roles on the court
There are sev en play ing positions in a team. Each has an important role to play f or their team:
To score goals and to work in and around the circle with the GA
To f eed and work with GS and to score goals
To f eed the circle play ers giv ing them shooting opportunities
To take the centre pass and to link the def ence and the attack
To look f or interceptions and prev ent the WA f rom f eeding the circle
To win the ball and reduce the ef f ectiveness of the GA
To work with the GD and to prev ent the GA/GS f rom scoring goals
Starting the game – centre pass
The f irst centre pass is decided between the two captains by the toss of a coin. The centre passes then alternate between the teams, regardless
of which team has scored.
Bef ore the whistle, all play ers must start in the goal thirds except the two Centres. The Centre with the ball must be wholly within the Centre Circle
and must obey the f ootwork rule af ter the whistle has been blown.
The opposing Centre stands any where within the Centre Third and is f ree to mov e.
Af ter the whistle the Centre pass must be caught or touched by a play er standing in or landing wholly within the Centre third.
A play er must not break at the centre pass, which is mov ing into the Centre third bef ore the whistle is blown f or the Centre pass.
Play ers must get onside quickly at the centre pass. The Centre with the ball must hurry back to the centre circle and step st raight in. If she waits
f or her play ers to get back onside, this is called “delay ing play ”.
A f ree pass would be awarded to the opposing team in any of these instances abov e.
Footwork in the centre circle
The f ootwork rule still applies in the centre circle. As soon as the Centre steps into the circle, their leading leg becomes their landing f oot and the
f ootwork rule then applies. That is, if they lif t or mov e their landing f oot and place it back down again, a f ree pass will be awarded to the opposing
team due to f ootwork.
A play er with or without the ball cannot mov e into an area of the court that is not designated f or their position.
This will result in a f ree pass being awarded to the opposing team.
A play er can receiv e the ball:
1. With both f eet grounded or jump to catch the ball and land on two f eet simultaneously . You may then take a step in any direct ion with one f oot
(but not both) and piv ot on the spot with the other f oot. Once one f oot is mov ed, the other is considered to be the landing f oot.
2. With one f oot grounded or jump to catch the ball and land on one f oot. The landing f oot cannot be mov ed, other than to piv ot on the spot, whilst
the other f oot can be mov ed in any direction. Once the landing f oot is lif ted, it must not be re-grounded until the ball is released.
Hopping or dragging the landing f oot is not allowed.
If you break the footwork rule, a free pass will be awarded to the opposing team
A play er attempting to intercept or def end the ball must be at least 3f t (0.9m) away f rom the play er with the ball. This distance is measured f rom
the landing f oot of the play er in possession of the ball. The def ender may jump to intercept or def end the ball f rom this 0.9m (3f t) f eet distance but
y ou must ensure if y ou do jump to def end a ball, y ou don’t land any nearer that 3f t or this is obstruction (i.e. shortening y our distance).
A penalty pass will be awarded if y ou obstruct a play er as described abov e.
Obstruction of a player not in possession of the ball
Your arms can be outstretched when y ou are a marking y our play er of f the ball if y ou are try ing to:
To catch, def lect or intercept a pass
To obtain a rebound f rom an unsuccessf ul shot at goal
Momentarily signal f or a pass or indicate the intended direction of mov ement
These instances are not classed as obstruction but y ou will be penalised if y ou mark a play er with y our arms out.
“No player may contact an opponent, either accidentally or deliberately, in such a way that interferes with the play of th at opponent or
causes contact to occur.”
More specif ically , a play er cannot:
Mov e into the path of an opponent who’s committed to a particular landing space
Position so closely to an opponent that the play er is unable to mov e without contacting (this ref ers to when a play er is being double marked,
usually a shooter).
Push, trip, hold or lean on an opponent or use other f orms of phy sical contact.
Place a hand or hands on a ball held by an opponent or knock or remov e the ball f rom possession of an opponent
While holding the ball, push it into the hands of an opponent.
Generally , an attacker is mov ing into a space to receiv e the ball and a def ender is drawn into causing contact when try ing to intercept. If the
attacker was in that space f irst, the decision goes their way and against the def ender. A def ender must be able to intercept the ball cleanly .
Howev er, no contact is allowed of f the ball. This includes attackers pushing of f , backing into or pushing through a def ender to get into space to
receiv e the ball. If the def ender was in that space f irst, then the decision goes their way and against the attacker.
The umpire’s role is to watch the game and determine which play er is “causing contact to occur”. It may not alway s seem obv ious to y ou as a
play er why a particular decision has been made. The umpire is there to judge whether it’s the attacker or def ender who is committed to a
particular space on court and theref ore which play er is causing contact to occur.
The umpire will state:
which play er the penalty is against
that a penalty pass has been awarded to the opposition
The umpire should stand at the position at the side of the court where they want the penalty to be taken f rom. If you’re ev er unsure where to take
the penalty f rom, y ou need to look at the positioning of the umpire f or guidance.
Failure to set the penalty correctly in this way will result in a rev ersal of the penalty and a f ree pass to the opposing team.
A lot of contact disrupts the f low of the game. It also puts y our team at a tactical disadv antage because when a play er is taken out of play on a
penalty , they are not able to contribute to the team’s def ence. It’s f ar better to pull out of a challenge if y ou think y ou’re going to contact the play er
and concentrate on def ending the next pass instead.
Penalties against a player
“The penalised play er must stand beside and away f rom the play er taking the penalty so as not to impede this play er in any way .
The penalised play er may not mov e or attempt to take part in play either phy sically or v erbally until the ball has lef t the hands of the thrower.”
Please observ e the abov e rule if a penalty is giv en against y ou!
Taking free passes and penalties
You hav e 3 seconds f rom setting the f ree pass/penalty in which to take it. If y ou decide that another play er would be better taking it, y ou must
place the ball back on the f loor.
Do not walk towards the other play er to pass it to them (f ootwork) or hand it to them (short pass).
Any opposing play er allowed in that area may take the f ree pass/penalty .
Only the GS and GA are able to score goals f or y our team. They must be wholly inside the goal circle to shoot.
The ball is thrown back into play f rom the point where it went of f the court. It is out of court when it contacts any thing outside the court area
(except the goalpost).
When taking a throw in, a play er places her f oot up to but not on the sideline or backline of the court. The lines are part of the court. If any part of
y our f oot is touching the line or y ou step into the court in the process of taking the throw in, this is deemed to be a f oul throw.
This includes walking on the court to pass the ball to another play er if y ou decide that they should take the throw in. In this instance, y ou should
leav e the ball on the f loor outside the court f or the play er to then pick up.
You hav e 3 seconds f rom when y ou take up y our position at the side of the court in which to throw the ball.
You must also wait until all play ers are back on the court bef ore taking the throw in.
If any of the abov e occurs, a throw in to the opposing team will be awarded.
Over a third
The ball cannot be thrown ov er a complete third of the court without being touched or caught by a play er (i.e. it cannot cros s two transv erse lines).
A f ree pass shall be taken f rom the area where the ball crossed the second transv erse line (i.e. where the ball shouldn’t hav e been).
A play er may not replay the ball. Specif ically y ou can’t:
lose control of the ball and pick it up again if it has not been touched by another play er
catch a rebound f rom a shot on goal if the ball has not touched the post or another play er
toss the ball into the air and catch it again without it being touched by another play er.
At the moment the ball is passed there must be room f or a third play er between the hands of thrower and catcher.
This is quite a common error between shooters and centre court play ers around the circle.
Play ers must remov e all jewellery bef ore the start of a match to av oid injury to y ou as a play er and y our opposition. This rule includes all ear
piercings, including piercings high on the ear lobe. Cov ering piercings up with a plaster is not adequate!
The only exception is a wedding band or a medical alert bracelet which can be worn but must be taped up.
Failure to remov e jewellery will result in a play er not being allowed on court.
Nails must be kept short. As a guideline, nails should be no longer than 1mm long and should not be seen f rom the underside of the f inger. This is
to protect other play ers f rom injury .
This is not a popular rule but it will be strictly enf orced to av oid any unnecessary injuries occurring to play ers taking part in the league.
Play ers will not be allowed to start a match with long nails.
Guidelines on enforcing the rules
Although we’re all out to hav e some f un play ing netball, unf ortunately there are rules of the game that we need to stick to!
For the f irst week or two, the umpires may be lenient and giv e y ou a second chance to correct a technical f ault (such as stepping onto the court
as y ou take a throw in), instead of giv ing the f ree pass to the opposing team. Umpires will also explain any decisions that y ou don’t understand if
y ou ask them politely , although they may ask y ou to wait until half or f ull time to allow them to concentrate f ully on the game being play ed.
The rules will be f ollowed more closely as the league progresses and as y ou all progress as play ers. The exception to this are rules which af f ect
play ers’ saf ety , such as contact and obstruction, which will be enf orced f rom the start of the league.