Netball Rules

In the early stages of netball the official rules were widely speculated and changed from country to country, however today we have an official set of regulated rules for club, county of international games. The following rules are regulated and published by the internal federation of netball associations.

Object of the game

This probably seems very simple, but we will start from scratch. The objective of netball is to score more goals than the opposing team, goals are scored when the ball is passed to a team member that is inside the goal circle who then shoots and gets the ball into the goal ring. The Goal circle is the D shape located around each netball post.

The Court

A netball court is split into three sections, the two goal thirds and the centre third this should be visible on the court as three rectangles. You then have two goal circles, these are the D shapes on either side of the court. Finally you have the centre circle which is the circle located in the centre of the centre third.

The Team

Netball teams consist of 7 players, for a game to be official there must be at least 5 players, one of whom must play centre of the court.

Player Positions

Each netball player has a role to play, the following roles are:

Goal Keeper - this person must work with the goal defender and their job is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals.
Goal Defender - the goal defenders role is to win the ball off the attackers when possible while also reducing the effectiveness of their movement possibilities.
Wing Defender - their job is to look out for interception possibilities and prevent the opposing team from getting the ball into the goal circle to their attacker and shooter.
Centre - this person will connect the attacking and defending sides of the team, feeding the ball between both and providing support when needed.
Wing Attacker - their role is to feed the ball into the goal shooter and attacker giving them the best possible shooting opportunities.
Goal Attacker - this persons role is to work with the goal shooter feeding the ball into them and providing support when needed.
Goal Shooter - the objective of the goal shooter is to work in and around the goal circle. Their main objecting is to score goals against the opposing team.

Starting the Game

The game is started with the centre pass , before the centre pass takes place all the team players must start in their goal thirds, except the two centres. The centre starting with the ball must remain within the centre circle, after the whistle is blown this person must pass the ball and the game can begin.

Defending and Obstruction

If a player is to try and intercept or defend the ball they must be at least 3ft away from the other player. They may then jump to intercept or defend the ball as long as they do not land within the 3ft distance from the other player.

Offside Rule

The offside rule is used across the entire court and is only used if a player with or without the ball moves into a position of the court that is not designated to their position.


The footwork rule decides whether or not a player can receive a pass of the ball, this player must A) have both feet grounded or land on both feet simultaneously after jumping to catch the ball, they may then take a step in any direction with one foot and pivot on the spot with the other foot or B) have one foot grounded or land on one foot after jumping to catch the ball, they may then only pivot on this foot and may not take a step.


Substituting players can only be done at half time or when a player is injured. There is also no limit to the amount of player substitutions made in a game. You may start the match with 5 or 6 players however you can only add more players into the game until the next centre pass occurs.


The penalised player cannot stand near the player taking the penalty or move or attempt to take part in play until the ball has left the hands of the thrower. They player taking the penalty then has 3 seconds to take the penalty they are not allowed to perform a short pass and must follow the footwork rule.


Only the goal shooter and goal attacker are allowed to take part in shooting and scoring goals and these players must be inside the goal circle when they do so.