RULES OF NETBALL UK: This section simplifies the IFNA official rules and regulations of netball.
You will find all the match tactics and scoring strategies for seasoned players as well as absolute beginners.
We cover all the regulatory laws and rulings taken from the official codified rules of the International Federation of Netball Associations.
You will also learn about the contact and obstruction offside infringement. It is one of the most misunderstood rules in netball.
Time passed as simple netball rules became increasingly popular during the 20th century. Competitive ladies’ England netball matches spread around the United Kingdom and elsewhere internationally.
IFNA and England Netball regulations control and govern the game. It consists of four separate timed quarters lasting 15 minutes each.
Regulations of Netball
Aim of the Game Netball
In short, the simple object of netball is scoring more goals (often called baskets or hoops) than the opposite team within the allocated time frame.
The scoring system in netball, known as odds and evens, keeps track when shooters score (e.g. when the ball drops through the goal ring).
Starting and Restarting the Game
- Players must be in their positions when starting and restarting the game in netball. That means being ready in their specific goal third (except the two Centre players).
- There is no specific term used when starting a game of netball. But the first center pass starts the game after the umpire blows his whistle.
- The Centre player who starts the game with the ball must have one foot (or both feet) inside the center circle. The other foot must not have contact with the ground outside of the circle if you only have one foot inside. Obey the usual netball footwork rule afterwards.
- The opposing Centre player can stand anywhere inside the middle zone. They are free to move around the center third.
- A Centre pass in netball must be at least touched (better if caught) by another player. That player must be inside, landing inside, or jumping into the Centre third.
- Two center players take turns alternating the centre passes. This same regulation restarts the game anytime a team scores a goal.
New Rule Delaying Play
- All players must quickly get onside following the netball centre pass. The Centre player in possession of the ball must hurry back to the centre circle and step straight inside.
- Waiting for other players to get back onside is new netball terminology called ‘delaying play’.
- New netball rules and regulations came into force in 2018 and will result in the Centre receiving a caution. A penalty gets awarded with further advancement taken up the court. This new netball rule should speed up the game for everyone.
The match official signals (whistles) the start and finish of each quarter. The referee also blows the whistle each time a player scores a goal. Netball regulation play lasts for a total of 60 minutes, as a rule.
Netball rules allow a three minute break in-between each quarter. There is a five minute rest period at half time. The half time break occurs between the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third.
Extra time is usually added on for injuries sustained during the match. But you cannot play more than two minutes of injury time under the official rules of netball UK.
The rules and regulations for netball say there must be one goal ring hoop positioned at each end of the court.
General Rules for Netball
- What is the held ball ruling – also called ‘replay or replayed ball in netball’?
- The held ball rule states players receiving the net ball must shoot for goal or pass it within three seconds.
- Players can bounce or bat the ball once, but only to gain control of it.
- Another player must then touch or catch the ball to avoid the replay rule.
- You cannot toss the ball into the air and then catch it again unless it touches another player.
- As a general rule, there should be enough space for a third player between the hands of thrower and the catcher.
- Avoiding penalties and defensive obstruction is the key to advancing the net ball forward.
- It gives players the best chance of scoring the all-important winning shot in the goal-circle.
- Players cannot run with the ball but move it by using one and two handed passing skills with their teammates.
New Rule Short Pass
- The netball short pass moves the ball from the hands of the thrower to those of the receiver.
- There must be enough space for an opposing player to intercept the ball when a player passes the ball.
- The new netball rule ‘short pass‘ is now active and in force. It will make it easier for players in a netball team to pass the ball to each other.
Contact and Obstruction: Netball Offside Rule
Contact Rule: Netball rules and regulations for contact and obstruction laws regulate physical charging. They do not allow pushing, tripping, or holding an opponent on the ball.
Obstruction Rule: Players cannot cause deliberate or accidental contact in netball. Obstructing or impeding opposing team members is a breach of netball rules.
Offside Rule: Netball offside regulations keep positional players inside their designated boundaries.
Note: Going offside in netball results in a free pass for the opposition taken within the same third.
Footwork Rule in Netball
What is footwork in netball? The netball footwork rule comes into play after catching the ball. At that moment you can land or stand on:
- One foot – as the landing foot stays grounded. You can move the second foot anywhere any number of times while pivoting on the landing foot if you want to. But you must not re-ground it until you release the ball after you lift your landing foot.
- Two feet (at the same time) – after one foot moves, the other gets ruled as the landing foot. The rules for playing netball prohibit hopping or dragging the landing foot.
New Rule Footwork in the Centre Circle
- The new 2022 netball rules and regulations are now in full swing.
- The regular footwork rule still applies in the centre circle.
- The umpire should blow the whistle to start play after the Centre has placed one foot completely inside the centre circle.
The principle penalty infringements do not allow any of the following procedures:
- Punching, kicking, rolling, or deliberately falling on the ball.
- Passing the ball while sitting or kneeling on the court.
- Using the goal post for support or to retain balance.
- Bouncing or playing the ball and retaining possession to replay it.
- Throwing the net ball over a third without player interception.
- Wandering outside your designated positional area.
What are the Rules of Netball Penalties?
The five chief penalty and infringement definitions are as follows:
- The Free Pass
- The Penalty Pass
- The Penalty Pass or Shot
- The Throw In
- The Toss Up
Netball Throw In Rules (foul throw)
A ball out of court means it made contact with anything outside the court area. The exception would be the goalpost.
The ball gets thrown back into play from out of court. The throw should occur from the point where the ball went through the court boundary lines.
The player taking a throw in should place a foot up to (but not touching) the sideline or backline of the court. The rules state that the lines are part of the court area.
Making a foul throw is one of the fouls given in netball. No part of your foot can touch the line during the throw in.
You cannot step into the court while taking the throw in either. But, when you take the throw in at least one foot must be within 15 cm (6 inches) of the court line.
What if you want another player to take the throw in? You should not walk on to the court to pass the ball to another player. Leave the ball on the floor outside the court line for the other player to pick up.
- You must throw the ball within 3 seconds of taking your position at the side of the court.
- Wait until all players are back on the court before you take the throw in.
- A throw in gets awarded to the opposing team if any of these fouls occur.
Netball Rule 7.2 Blood Policy
The rules and regulations in netball dictate that an additional role of netball umpires is to oversee and control the regulatory policies for blood wounds.
The policy calls for a maximum two minute stoppage time if the umpire observes blood on a player, on the ball, or anywhere else on the court. Three player revolving substitutions can replace injured or ill team mates.
Scoring in Netball
Only a Goal Scorer (GS) or Goal Attacker (GA) can legally score goals. They must be inside the circle when they receive the ball before shooting for the hoop.
Shooters or attackers score by throwing the net ball through the opponent’s goal ring.
Important: The goal scorer must be completely inside the goal circle and the ball must pass all the way through the hoop.
Netball Umpires and Officials
All netball officials must be fully conversant with the role and responsibilities of umpires in controlling all aspects of the game.
It includes regulating the rules of player infringements, setting penalties, and the handling of any players who are deliberately delaying the game.
How to Win a Game of Netball?
The goal of netball is to score more points than your opposing team during an allotted time frame. Goals convert into points and the aim is to end the game with the most points (usually one hour per match).
Advanced Rules and Regulations of Netball
- A-Z List of Sports Rules: A comprehensive listing of popular indoor and outdoor sport categories.
- 10 Basic Rules of Netball: A simple list of the most important regulations of netball.
- Ball Handling in Netball: Training exercises focusing on passing and receiving techniques.
- Netball Coaching Drills: Get the latest training drills with coaching tips for beginners.
- Ball Passing Drills: Learn how to make the chest pass and bounce pass in netball.
- Goal Shooter Movement: The tips and tricks of being a good netball goal shooter.
- Shooting Techniques: Extra training drills with tips for all goal shooters in netball.
- Shielding and Defending: Mastering two of netball’s essential match winning techniques.
- Footwork in Netball: Include these footwork and ball passing skills in your training.
- Health and Safety in Netball: An important guide covering netball health and safety regulations.
- Netball Positions: How do 7 players fulfill different roles and responsibilities on the court?
- Obstruction in Netball: Laws of netball governing offside and physical unfairness.
- Netball Equipment List: A checklist of basic match kit needed for the game.
- Netball FAQ: Find the answers to the most asked questions about netball.
- Netball for Dummies: Basic rules listed in a simple easy format for newcomers to follow.
- Roles of Officials in Netball: What are the responsibilities of a netball umpire?
- Netball Scoring System: Learn how to use the ‘odds and evens’ score format.
- Timekeeper in Netball: The duties and responsibilities for accurate timekeeping in netball.
- Netball Terms: A concise list of netball terminology and phrases from A-Z.
- Umpiring Hand Signals: Learn how umpires communicate with signals and whistle use.
- Netball Rule Book 2022 PDF: [Free Download Option]
English Netball in the News
- England Netball is Booming: Find out why there are record numbers of participants playing netball.
- Facts about Netball History: Solving the mystery of ‘when was netball first played by women’?
- Netball Foot Care: Foot care tips and hygiene advice for sports players.
- Trainers for Netball: Learn how to reduce the risk of foot sores, blisters, and possible ankle sprains.