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How to Teach Netball Rules to Young Children

by Rosenya Faith

Netball is a fast-paced sport that provides a child with plenty of exercise and an opportunity to work together with other children. It has many similarities to basketball, but it is a complex game that requires a bit of time and practice to learn. You can help your child learn all about the game and get in some one-on-one time, too. Be patient, practice each rule you talk about to combine multiple sensory stimulation, and above all, keep it fun!

Obtain a copy of the league's rule book so you are familiar with the rules of netball and the modifications made to the game for children.

Help your child become familiar with the equipment and court used when playing netball. Let him hold the ball and practice tossing it back and forth to become familiar with the size and weight of the ball, and run around the court to get used to the environment.

Take turns trying to make a few shots at the net. In netball, the net is 10 feet tall, but might be shorter for children's netball. Contact with the net, or "goal ring" is not allowed in netball, so dunking the ball is not generally possible. Jump shots, however, are permissible, but verify first with your league's rule book.

Talk about the goal shooter's and goal attack's roles in the game as you practice making shots. Those are the only players allowed to throw the ball in the opposing team's net.

Practice throwing the ball back and forth quickly. In netball, no player can hold the ball longer than three seconds, so your child should get used to the motion of passing the ball quickly.

Talk about the no-contact rule. Players are not allowed to come in contact with other players and are not allowed to hit the ball out of another player's hands. A distance of 3 feet must be maintained between the player with the ball and the defense player.

Show your child what 3 feet of distance looks like. You should have enough room for another person to stand between you and another player. Practice passing the ball or trying to obtain the ball from each other, while maintaining this distance.

Show your child each of the areas on the court. In netball, players must remain in the areas to which they have been designated. Practice passing or trying to obtain the ball while remaining in designated sections. Talk about the goal shooter's and goal attack's roles in the game because those are the only players allowed to throw the ball in the opposing team's net.

Take plenty of breaks and offer plenty of praise for your child's efforts. It will take a child awhile to get a firm grasp on all the rules of the game. Practice the above steps for 30 to 60 minutes and then come back to it again later. Continue until your child is familiar with the rules of the game and the role of each player.

Items you will need
  • Child’s netball league rule book
  • Netball
  • Netball court

References

  • Netball Basics: How to Play Netball; Kim Sundrey
  • The Netball Handbook; Jane Woodlands-Thompson

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

Photo Credits

  • Martin Hunter/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images