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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Minor or 'technical' rules
Minor or 'technical' rules

Ball control
When a player receives a pass they have to act quickly, but they are not allowed to run with the ball or dribble it.

To gain control of the ball, a player can bat or bounce the ball once, but they CANNOT bat and bounce the ball, or do either more than once.

It is also against the rules to push the ball into the air before batting or bouncing it.

A player has to be standing before they throw the ball - it is illegal to chuck the ball when you're kneeling down or sprawled on the floor of the court.

Three second rule
To make sure the game stays pacy and competitive there's the three second rule.

This means players have only three seconds between catching the ball and making a pass

Making space

The player holding the ball must leave enough room for another person to move between their hands and those of the catcher.

This rule aims to cut down on short passes between team members, and effectively stops the ball being handed from one player to the next at close range.

One of the trickiest things in netball is getting your footwork right.

If a player catches the ball with only one foot on the ground then that foot is called the landing foot.

Minor or 'technical' rules

A player can then choose to step with the other foot, lift the landing foot and throw the ball before the landing foot returns to the ground.

Or they can pivot on the landing foot and move the other foot any number of times - depending on how flexible the player is!

But they are NOT allowed to move or hop on the landing foot until they have thrown the ball.

A player can also jump, switching from the landing foot to their other one, and then jump again to throw the ball.

If a player has both feet on the floor when catching the ball they will choose their landing foot and follow the rules as above.

If a player breaks the footwork rule it is usually called "stepping" and a free pass is awarded.

Court boundaries
Each player is only allowed in certain areas of the court and if they stray out of position then they are offside - have alook at our positions guide on the right hand side.

A player can still be offside even if they don't have the ball.

Long ball tactics that work so well in basketball and football also won't get you very far in netball.

That is because the ball must be handled in each third of the court.

A player cannot throw the ball from the defensive third to the attacking third, for example.

At least two passes also have to be made before a player can have a shot on goal.

Toss ups

There are 14 players on a netball court, so you can occasionally expect two players to get tangled up reaching for the ball at the same time!

This is called simultaneous contact and the umpire will use a toss up to restart the game.

The two players face each other while the umpire stands in between them. The umpire then throws the ball and both players try and catch it.

You might think taller players would always win toss ups.

But the umpire throws the ball no more than two feet into the air from just below the shoulder height of the shorter player.

Toss ups also help solve incidents on the court when the umpire is unsure exactly what happened.


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