Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Netball positions explained

Netball is a team game, played with 7 players on court at any one time. Each player on the court has a specific position, which has certain areas that they are only able to go in. Unlike other team sports, where anybody is able to score and defend, and the positions are fluid, netball has set roles and responsibilities for players, for example, only two players are allowed to score.

The 7 positions are:
- Goal Keeper
- Goal Defence
- Wind Defence
- Centre
- Wing Attack
- Goal Attack
- Goal Shooter

The centre position is the only position where you play against a player who is playing in the same position.

Goal Keeper The Goal Keeper is the last line of defence, and they guard the goal (or shooting) circle and the defensive third of the pitch. Their main objective is to stop the Goal Shooter from scoring. Usually tall and physical, the Goal Keeper has to stay alert, to take any rebounds from stray shots and intercept errant passes. Restarting play from the goal line with a throw-in is the responsibility of the Goal Keeper.

Goal Defence The Goal Defence has similar responsibilities, to a Goal Keeper, but is also able to go in to the centre third (along with the defensive third and goal circle). Being the only other defensive player allowed in the goal circle, the main responsibility is to stop the other team scoring, but they also have to try and stop the flow of the ball in to the attacking third. The Goal Attack is the primary marking focus of the Goal Defence. As well as being tall and physical, Goal Defences also need to be agile and nimble, as well as having good anticipation to enable them to block any passes in to, and around, the goal circle.

Wing Defence The Wing Defence can go anywhere that the Goal Defence goes, apart from in to the goal circle. Defensively, they need to intercept passes and make it almost impossible for the ball to get in to the goal circle. Offensively, they need to get the ball forward quickly and provide an outlet for the Goal Keeper and Defence. They need to do all of this, whilst maintaining control over the opposition Wing Attack.

The Centre can go wherever they want, apart from the two goal circles. This makes them exceptionally important within a netball team as they are able to influence the offence and defence. The Centre is the main passer of the netball, but they cannot be on their heels admiring a pass, as they need to be instantly on the move again to get the next pass and continue the possession. They have to be the heart beat and engine of the team, so a Centre needs to be quick, but also have good vision and creativity. Height is not always a requirement for the Centre position.  Play restarts with a centre pass, by the centre, after each goal has been scored.

Wing Attack The Wing Attack is the key creator on the netball court. They will be constantly exchanging passes with the Centre and attacking players to try and engineer a better shooting position, and as many of them as possible. The Wing Attack mirrors the Wing Defence in where they are able to move on the court; the attacking and centre thirds, but not the goal circle. The Wing Attack needs to have quick hands and feet, and be able to see the next pass as the receive the current one.  When I play Netball in London, my speed compensates for my lack of height. 

Goal Attack The Goal Attack provides the ammunition for the Goal Shooter, trying to give them the easiest of chances possible. The Goal Attack can go where the Wing Attack is allowed, as well as the Goal Circle. A Goal Attack will generally look to pass rather than shoot, but does need to have the shooting skills if the Goal Shooter is unable to be found, but this may mean that it is a longer shot. Goal Attack’s must have both top notch passing and shooting skills.

Goal Shooter
The Goal Shooter is the scorer, the one that will take 95% of the shots and score 95% of the goals. They are only allowed in the attacking third and the Goal Circle, making their whole mindset about attacking, and more prevalently, scoring. A Goal Shooter needs to be not only good at scoring, but also making space for themselves and creating a better shooting opportunity on receiving the netball. The Goal Shooter needs to have good reactions and soft steady hands to accept the pass and then execute the shot. Height is also a valuable asset for the Goal Shooter.


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