Rules Overview

The Rules of Netball may be placed into two generic groups, those which infringe only a rule and are called minor rules although they make up the majority of the rules, and those which infringe the rights of an opponent and consequently are called major rules.

The minor rules, among which are the infringements of held ball, stepping, breaking, offside and over a third, are penalized with a free pass.

The major rules, which mainly consist of obstruction, intimidation, contact and discipline are penalized with a penalty pass or penalty pass or shot. In this penalty, the offender must stand out of play until the ball has left the thrower's hands. By the combination of the above, only the Goal Attack and Goal Shooter are able to score goals directly. A ball that passes through the hoop, but has been thrown either from outside the circle or by a player not the GA or GS, is deemed a "no goal". Furthermore, a shooter (GA or GS) may not shoot for a goal if a "free pass" has been awarded for an infringement such as stepping, offside, or using the post.

General overview of netball rules:

  • Netball rules do not permit players to take more than one step in possession of the ball.
  • Consequently, the only way to move the ball towards the goal is to throw the ball to a team-mate.
  • The ball cannot be held by a player for more than three seconds at any time, and players may not tap the ball to themselves more than once ("replay").
  • This, combined with the restrictions on where one player can move, ensures that everyone on the team is regularly involved in play.
  • Defence is restricted — contact is only permitted provided it does not impede with an opponent or the general play and players must be at least three feet (90 centimetres) away from a player with the ball mean attempting to defend.
  • If impeding contact is made, a penalty is given to the team of the player who was contacted, and the player who contacted must stand "out of play", meaning they cannot participate in play until the player taking the penalty has passed the ball.

 

View more detailed rules in the Umpiring section of the site.