Netball is such a fantastic game for kids, it teaches teamwork, athleticism and endurance, builds character and stamina, and encourages rapid reactions and peripheral awareness. Given that it's such a great all-rounder, learning the footwork skills for netball can be neglected, but having some of the basics under their belt can help your child enjoy this fast-moving game so much more, because it frees them up to give more attention to the pace of play and maybe, to score extra points! Click the links below to be taken to the relevant section.
> How to teach footwork in netball
> Netball footwork drills
> Footwork rules in netball
> Ice Cream drill for the No.1 footwork rule
Or you may be interested in: > Netball Warm Up Exercises
How to Teach Footwork in Netball
First of all, make it interesting. While netball footwork drills are always valuable, making them exciting gives children something to really look forward to. For example ladder drills are an amazing way to improve footwork and build cardio efficiency but to make them fun, simply set up ladders in a row (you can chalk them on the ground) and then call out the name of each drill and see who is fastest or slowest to change to the right drill. You can have children line up behind each other and more than one child on a ladder if you're working with a big group.
Netball Footwork Drills
- Single foot - put a single foot in each square - it has to land completely inside the square and should be done as fast as possible
- Double feet - two feet in each square, like a high trotting horse, no jumping!
- Laterals - turning sideways, planting both feet in each square, using the arms to balance.
- Jumping Jacks - travelling down the ladder, jumping both feet first inside then outside each square before jumping forward to the next one with feet together, and swinging the arms overhead with each feet out jump to increase agility.
- Criss-Cross - this is a real challenge! Start on the left-hand side of the ladder, with your left foot leading. Step sideways with your left foot into the first square, then cross step your right foot over the left into the second box. Then continue down the ladder with the second foot stepping alternately in front or behind the leading leg - this is a test of hip stability, balance, coordination and concentration.
These kinds of drills feel like games, but develop formidable skills - of all the netball footwork drills they're some of the easiest to set up and also some of the most effective in all-round skills development.
Footwork Rules in Netball
Of course, footwork rules in netball require focus too. Basically, the rule is that while players can receive the ball on one foot or two feet they can't hop or move the landing foot on the ground to change position. And they can only move 1.5 steps with the ball. A drill that helps with this fundamental of netball is essential to success.
The Ice Cream drill is perfect for this...
Ice Cream Footwork DrillWhile this can be undertaken with just two players, more can join in and you can swap between being drillers and spotters. Everybody jogs around the area. When you blow a whistle, everybody jumps, as their first foot lands, every player must shout "Ice" and as their second foot lands, they shout "Cream". The Ice foot has to stay on the ground; it can only be used to pivot, while the Cream foot can be moved to maintain balance. When the whistle blows again, everybody starts jogging. In this round, if anybody moves their Ice foot, they become a spotter, helping the coach check if anybody is moving, and the game continues until only one player is left.
Once your players have got the hang of this activity, which teaches the 1.5 step rule, you can add in a ball, getting each player to throw a ball in the air and catch it as they land, and finally, once both these drills have been mastered, you can get the players into pairs, to throw balls to each other while jumping. This final drill teaches balance, catching and throwing and develops awareness of the 1.5 step rule.
With simple drills like this you can easily help children enjoy building skills and developing an understanding of this fast-paced and rewarding game.