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Netball Terms, Words, and Phrases

This section contains the terminologies of netball listed from A to Z with pictures and videos. You will find 100s of netball terms and definitions used by players and officials.

You can shoot through to the most common netball terminology by clicking the alphabetic facility below. Or, take a timeout and scroll down to sharpen your knowledge and general understanding.

Netball Terminologies Used in the Game

Browsing through this vocabulary of netball terminology is a useful exercise for players as well as for competition referees.

Learning the titles, common match rulings, and terms used in netball will also help spectators and fans of sports definitions.

The official netball rules and regulations is a good place to start for any beginners. Use it to learn more about the basic governance and how the fundamental rulings work.

You can move to the next level by becoming familiar with these netball keywords. They cover the advanced lingo and sports terms related to the game.

Want to know the best part?

This comprehensive list of netball’s terms and definitions continues to grow. Check in often for more information associated to netball jargon, playing techniques, and match-winning strategies.

‘Terms of Netball Phraseology: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!’


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

So, the question is:

Do you know the difference between a centre pass, a chest pass, and a feint pass? What is the start of a netball match called? And what is dodging in netball?

If you want sports lingo, and netball terminologies with pictures, you are definitely in the right place. Check out this unmatched list of netball vocabulary words and definitions.

Netball Terms beginning with A

Age Banding

England Netball age banding restrictions refer to grading of players.

They are banded by their age definitions and used for the purpose of running some competitions.

Age band regulations are as follows;

  • Athletes competing in Adult competition must be over 16.
  • Athletes competing in U19 competition must be over 16 and under 19.
  • Athletes competing in U16 competition must be over 14 and under 16.
  • Athletes competing in U14 competition must be over 12 and under 14.

Age banding ensure all teams comply with the same age limits and helps to ensure the protection of potentially vulnerable athletes.

In some circumstances an athlete may be moved to a higher age band if they demonstrate an exceptional level of skill and maturity.

The manager or coach from your club can apply for permission to change your banding.

Airborne Throw

The airborne throw happens if the netball ball catcher grasps it in the air and then releases it before their feet return to the court.

Ankle Support

Netball ankle braces give extra support to the Anterior Talofibular Ligament during play and practice. The soft breathable mesh material covers the ankle bone allowing air movement and maximum comfort.

After all, taking care of your feet is important because around 85% of all ankle sprains are caused by inversion sprains or ankle roll overs.

Attacking Drills

Netball attacking drills are used by players to retain possession and use court linkage techniques to pass the ball across the center and goal zones towards a player in the shooting circle.

You will see huge improvements in your offensive proficiency by periodically exercising these netball attacking drills which are essential training sets for beginners.

Attacking Team

The attacking team in netball terms refers to the ones who are in possession of the netball ball and the attackers are attempting to score a goal.

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Netball Terminologies beginning with B


Netball back-lines are boundary lines situated at both ends of the court which should measure 15.25 meters (50 feet) wide.

The shorter sides of the rectangular shaped pitch are called ‘goal lines’ or ‘back lines’ whereas the longer sides are called ‘side lines’.

Back-line Throw-in

The netball expression ‘back-line throw-in’ refers to the procedure of returning the ball to the court from the back-line after it has gone out of play.


A netball ball weighs around 14-16 ounces usually made of leather or rubber. The balls have a circumference of 27-28 inches. As a rule netball balls are white in color with variants of hot pink XD and sometimes yellow.

Ball Handling Drills

Try some netball coaching skills for handling the ball which focus on passing and receiving training techniques.


Banding is one of the words associated with netball terms used to describe the dividing strips which segregate the court playing area.


Bending is one of the expressions of netball jargon which describes the curving course or movement of a player on court.


Netball bibs are lightweight mesh vests slipped over the upper torso and usually made from polyester material.

The latest reversible bib sets allow you to turn them inside out so the team can play in a contrasting colour at times when the opposing team is sporting the same colour bibs as yours.

Blood Policy

  • The wound should be cleaned and the flow of blood must be stopped before the player can return to the court.
  • Wounds should be covered and blood-stained clothing must be removed if it cannot be cleaned.
  • The court or ball must also be cleaned – where appropriate – before normal play restarts.

Netball Terminology beginning with C

Center Circle

The small netball center circle marks the spot in the center of the court where play begins and restarts following a goal.

Center Court

The center court is the middle third of the court playing area.

Center Pass

The netball center pass is the initial passing movement which begins and restarts play following a goal. So, the start of a netball match is called a centre pass (not kick off).

Chest Pass

The chest pass definition is referred to as passing the ball quickly from the torso area in a one or two-handed maneuver which is either thrusted horizontally or bounced off the court surface to your teammate.


Clearing defines a player’s movement to clear a space using a change of pace, allowing a teammate, or themselves to drive into and occupy. The player who is clearing the space, and drawing the defender away, should always have sight of the ball with your body facing it.

Clearing in netball occurs most when too many players are gathered close to one another in one spot – perhaps because of bad timing. The wide running move is commonly used by center court players and shooters who are most experienced in spatial awareness on the court.

Coaching Drills

Netball coach training focuses on practicing footwork drills and ball passing skills which will improve your defending and intercepting techniques.


Contact in netball is any action that results in players touching or bumping into each other.


A netball court should have a firm surface and is typically made of asphalt or polished wood and measures 100 feet long by 50 feet wide. The court is divided into three equal sections. The central third is in the middle of two goal thirds containing a goal circle.

The goal circle is a semicircle with a radius of 16 feet. The center circle splits the court and has a diameter of three feet. There are two goal posts ten feet high at each end of the court 10 feet and each goal post has a ring with a diameter of 15 inches.

Court Linkage

Court linkage is a term used to describe the players’ use of ball-passing in the empty spaces on the court.


The players use cues to each other signaling the best time to pass the ball.

Netball Terms that Start with D

Dead-ball Situations

Some funny netball phrases are used more often than others and this is one of the common ones. Dead ball situations define when play is stopped for a throw-in, for a center pass, or for a free pass.

Defending Team

The defending team is the one without possession of the ball. They defend their goal area from the other team who is attempting to score a goal.


The netball dodge is a sudden deceptive move often used to avoid the opponent. The definition of dodging in netball terms relates to the art of moving from side to side to confuse the opponent before sprinting off to catch the ball.

Practice your netball dodging drills by taking two steps one way, drop the shoulder and push away quickly off the outside foot changing direction. These netball dodges help you drive the ball the opposite way to the expected direction.

Double Marking

Double marking is when two players guard and try to prevent the opposition receiving the ball.

Dummy Run

The dummy run is a netball slang word. Netball for dummies rules occur when a player fakes a pass, deceiving the opposition through movement, creating space for a fellow teammate to receive the ball.

Netball Terminologies from E to G

England Netball

England Netball is the governing body for England’s biggest female team sport.

Equipment List

Netball Gear Checklist – Listing the essential playing facilities, equipment regulations, and minimum kit you need to play the game and equip the team.


Netball etiquette differs little to that in most team events. Playing with proper etiquette refers to a customary code of polite behavior in all sports and games.

It generally involves players following the written and unwritten rules of a game. In essence, it ensures good sportsmanship prevails throughout a netball match.

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Use the Netball Frequently Asked Questions research section to improve your overall knowledge and understanding about the game. We answer all the top questions in netball jargon with up-to-date factual content and blog articles.

Fast5 Netball

There are even more attempts taking place to open up the sport to a wider audience. A shorter and faster form of the game called Netball Fast5 is sweeping across the nation.

Feint Pass

Aiming a ball pass in one direction and then releasing it into a completely different area is called a feint pass or sometimes a feint dodge.

Feint literally means to make a deceptive or distracting movement by facing the direction you are trying to make your marker run. Then transfer your weight from your back foot to your front foot and to drive out in a different direction.

Footwork Rule

The netball footwork rule is unique compared to most other ball sports. It applies to the person with the ball being allowed very limited movement with their feet after catching the ball.

Try these 10 basic fit and healthy foot care tips with essential feet hygiene rules for anyone playing indoor sports or activities.


In the sports terminology of netball, a ‘feed’ is a ball pass made to the shooters who are in the shooting zone or circle.

Free Pass

A free pass is awarded to the opposing team for an incurred penalty.

GA (Goal Attack)

The netball Goal Attack is only allowed in the centre and enemy goal third including their goal circle.

GD (Goal Defence)

Netball Goal Defence players are only allowed in the centre, their own goal defensive third, and their goal semi-circle.

GK (Goal Keeper)

Netball Goal Keepers are only allowed to play inside their own end third and goal semi-circle.

GS (Goal Shooter)

The netball Goal Attack is only allowed in their own shooting circle and their circle third.


The goal-circle is one of the words associated with netball terminology and refers to the semicircle marking the shooting area at each end of the court.

Goal Shooter

Learn how to shoot these four winning goal shooter drills to help improve your scoring accuracy and team hit rate in the circle.

Goal Third

A concise list of keywords in netball should include all the court sections. The Goal Third is the end third of the shooting area which contains the goal or shooting circle.

Note: Do you have an appetite for wisdom and mastery? Take a time out and browse through our cornerstone section listing all the UK rules and regulations that we cover… like business, driving, employment, health, and legal stuff.

Half Roll and Roll-Off

The netball half roll is an effective technique used to confuse defenders. Turning back and facing away from a defender gives you and advantage in depth and width.

The half roll results in the attacker disappearing from the field of peripheral vision so the defender loses sight of the attacker. A half roll in netball is a move made most often in a set play or dead ball time.

The netball roll-off is a continuation of the 180 degree half roll spin. The roll-off completes two half turns to complete a 360 degree turn.

High 5 Netball Rules

High 5 Netball is a popular introductory game and an easy way for young kids to get active. Not only will children enjoy High 5 Netball Rules they will also make lots of new friends.

Netball High 5 targets children aged 9 to 11. The game uses friendly fun and variety to get them interested in playing the game. High Five also helps kids polish their netball skills and it is good exercise.

The game focuses around 5 players on the court with up to four other off-court roles of passing and scoring. High 5 can involve mixed or single-sex teams with a maximum of two boys on court at any one time.

Young players rotating around the different High Five netball positions is a key part of High 5 Netball Rules.

Harrison Hoist

The Harrison Hoist is netball terminology for a move whereby one defender lifts another to get more elevation during a jump. It was named after defender Anna Harrison who pulled off the move in Australia 2012.

The legality and ethics of the move are questionable because current rulings forbid the touching of the net or rim while performing the hoist.

Held Ball

The term ‘held ball’ refers to holding the ball for longer than you are allowed to. Depending on the situation and the umpire held ball is permitted for five seconds for primary school games and three seconds for normal competitive games.

History of Netball

Netball history dates back to 1892 when the women’s version of basketball or ‘net ball’ became the trendy new sport for ladies.

Holding Position

The term holding position refers to a player in possession of the ball being in a static position before deciding in which direction to pass it.


One of the key terms used in netball is the hoop. Hoops are used as the scoring ring and there should be one hoop at each end of the court. The goal post must be 3.05 meters high (10 feet) with a diameter of 380 mm (15 inches) for the hoop.

Horizontal Banding

Horizontal banding in netball terminology refers to when you are passing the ball to your teammates and moving horizontally across the court


IFNA is a four letter acronym which stands for the International Federation of Netball Association. Speed up your game and master the tactics with an overview of netball’s official and codified IFNA regulatory laws and rulings.

Junior Netball

Netball Rules for Kids – Juniors and young beginners who are starting to play netball usually choose between playing on a school team or a club team.


Having the right netball kit means equipping the team with the essential equipment, facilities, and the minimum gear you need and use to play the game.


Netball knickers are an item of sportswear usually made from cotton and lycra which are soft and comfortable to wear.

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Landing Foot

Your landing foot is the first foot to be grounded after catching the ball.


Lunging uses one leg to make a long stride as the other leg remains still.

Man-to-man (defensive marking)

Man-to-man marking means assigning each player to mark one single opposite number defensively and continually throughout normal play. Defensive marking is a tactic used in netball by assigning players to defend and follow the movements of a single counterpart player on offense.


Netball is a fast highly-skilled two-team ball sport mostly played by females. The regulatory laws allow seven outfield players in each team and marking refers to the strategy of staying close to an opponent preventing her from catching the ball.


Netball nets are attached to the hoop ring and made from nylon and banded twine. Use only the official netball net and ball which is suitable for safe indoor or outdoor use.


Netball players with extended arms must defend and intercept the ball no closer than 0.9 meters (3ft) to the nearest opposer. The minimum distance is calculated from the first landing foot of the carrier or attacker to the defender’s nearest foot.

Obstruction advantage which shortens the 91.44 cm distance is not allowed by arm extensions or jumping to intercept the ball. Obstructing a player in possession results in an obstruction penalty pass awarded to the opposing team.


The offside regulation in netball keeps each member of the team inside their designated area. Wandering outside your court zone, with or without the ball, results in an offside position and the opposing team wins a free pass taken inside the same area.

Offside rulings allow you to take the ball from an offside area provided that no body part contacts the ground in the offside zone.

Odds and Evens

Odds and Evens is one of the official netball phrases used by scorekeepers. When you learn how to score a netball match you need to become familiar with the scoring system Odds and Evens.


Two netball officials umpire one half of the court each. There are two score recorders and a timekeeper. These officials will be fully conversant with all the sports terminology of netball. Players should acquaint themselves to the key terms involved in netball.

Out of Court

The ball is deemed to be out of court when it makes contact with the ground outside the court or any object or person outside the court.

Overhead Pass

An overhead pass is a two-handed pass taken from above the head. It delivers the ball above an opponent’s head to a fellow team member.

Over a Third

Throwing the net ball through one complete third without player interception is not allowed and is penalized by the netball umpire. The umpire awards a free pass for breaking the ‘over a third‘ rule.

The infringement resumes with a pass from the third where extra possession was gained.

Passing Drills

Mastering netball’s variety of passing drills and skills will sharpen your game. Using different passes in netball will also help you execute ball throws decisively and effectively in your next match.

Penalty Pass

Obstruction or contact penalties result in a penalty pass awarded to the opposition.

Penalty Shot

The same netball rule for a penalty shot applies as for a penalty pass. The difference is when the offence occurs inside the shooting circle which means the shooter can either shoot or pass the ball to a teammate.

Pivot (pivoting)

Pivoting in netball related words and phrases describes the swivel movement of a player keeping one foot on the ground and turning on it to face a different direction.

Playing the Ball (replay)

Playing the ball occurs when a player bounces it and regains or retains possession to replay it. It is one of the key terms used in netball game. This procedure is not allowed and forbidden by the regulations.

You cannot ‘replay‘ the ball unless another player makes contact with the ball, or it rebounds off one of the goal posts.

A ‘replay’ offense is also committed if you deliberately fall on the ball, kick it, punch it, roll the ball, or throw it from the ground while kneeling or sitting down.

Player Positions

The team positions of netball players are regulated as to what they can do on court and where they can go in the field.

Quotes (netball sayings)

Netball Quote: It’s winter and you’re wearing a small lycra skirt? That is an example of one of the many quotes, anagrams, and netball slang phrases associated with the game.

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Rebound (rebounding)

Jumping to recover the ball in the goal area after a missed shot is called rebounding. Rebounds are considered as a major part of the game because it often leads to a possession change or an opportunity to score. Therefore the term describes the successful retrieval of the ball in that circumstance.


Repositioning is when a player moves to another position having already passed the ball.

Reverse Handing

Reverse handing uses the player’s hand farthest away to reach the ball or attempt a deflection from the opposing player.

Reverse Pivot

A reverse pivot is a procedure used to change the direction by pivoting on the foot nearest to the opponent.

Rolling Off

Rolling off is one of the terms associated with netball which means bending away and quickly turning your back to move in a different direction.

Scoring Systems

England netball scoring system. Scorers and official timekeepers must work in conjunction with, and communicate to, the umpire.


Shielding and defending are two of netball’s essential match winning techniques yet they are often underrated skills compared to passing in netball and other goal shooting drills.


Netball Shoes – Wearing proper netball trainers and comfortable footwear is essential if you play regularly in competitive tournaments around the United Kingdom.

Shooting Circle

The shooting circle is the marked goal area where players must land inside before they shoot at the goal ring.

Shooting Skills

You should practice these top netball shooting skills if you are the team Goal Shooter (GS) or Goal Attacker (GA).

Short Pass Rule

The short pass regulation does not allow close passing among adjacent teammates. There must always be a space between the thrower’s hands and the receiver to allow reasonable interception of the pass by a third member.

Shoulder Pass

Shoulder passing is a shoulder height method of projecting the ball across a long distance.


A concise list of keywords in netball jargon should include all the court lines and markings. Sidelines are the lines running down the sides of the court making boundaries of play.

Simultaneous Contact

Simultaneous contact occurs if two players from opposite sides bump into each other and the umpire cannot decide who made the first contact.

Sprint Dodge

In netball terminology a sprint dodge means making space behind your defender so your teammates can pass the ball easier over their head. It is an important tactic in the game because it makes attacking and defending easier for the entire team.

  • Three player substitutions are permitted to replace injured or ill team mates
  • Once you have been substituted you are not allowed back on court
  • Substitution laws allow positional changes and replacements during the game.
  • The team can substitute players during any of the three official time breaks or during an injury stoppage break.
  • Time-out injury or illness changes must involve the person who is suffering the injury or illness.
  • Temporary stoppages in the game also allow the opposite team to make their positional changes or substitutions.


Teams is one of the words associated with netball slang words, like most ball sports. Each netball team has a maximum of seven players.


A throw-in reintroduces the ball into play after it has gone outside of the court.


The role of netball timekeepers is an important contribution to the overall flow and the timing of the game.

Timekeeper System

England netball scorers and official timekeepers must work in conjunction with, and communicate to, the umpire.


The referee may use a toss-up to put the ball back into play usually when he is unable to award possession to either team.

Transverse Lines

The two transverse lines divide the netball court into three thirds which are called a center third (in the middle) and a goal third either side of the center third.


The principle role of a netball umpire is to check the court and complete a pre-match checklist sheet. Netball umpires should check the players’ nails and jewellery before the game commences.

Match officials use precise and sequenced umpiring terminology to indicate and state rule infringements by giving clear voice calls, sharp whistle prompts, and gestured hand signals.

An Umpire’s duties also include checking both scorecards are fully completed with the names of up to 12 players and their affiliation numbers.

Under-arm Pass

Under-arm passes are one-handed throws taken from below the waist area. The under-arm pass feeds the ball to a team member who is unmarked and close by.

Video Guides

Beginners can start playing and learning right now with these top 10 netball rules and regulations with simplified laws of the game for 7-a-side events and competitive tournaments played regularly around the United Kingdom.

Note: The short video clip [7:03 seconds] explains more about the basic rules for playing netball games.

WA (Wing Attack)

The netball Wing Attack is only allowed in the centre and enemy goal third but not the goal circle.

Walking Netball

One of the latest initiatives by England Netball is ‘Walking Netball‘. It helps women of different age groups and physical abilities get back into playing the game.

WD (Wing Defence)

Netball Wing Defense players are only allowed in the centre and own goal third (but not their own goal semi-circle).

Warm Down

Performing a warm up and warm down is associated with any sport. But we included the phrases to our list of keywords in netball for extra safety. Warming down is the opposite of warm up in that it helps the body to come back to its normal state.

Warm Up

Warming up exercises are done to prepare the body for the more extreme activities to come.


The netball term weighted is a ranking signal. Weighting Matches played a long time ago are a less accurate guide to current form. Recent results are a stronger guide and so past results are weighted, giving a lower weighting to earlier results.

Note: Check out our Pinterest netball section displaying some great images about the sport, players, and equipment.


A netball umpire uses a pea whistle – sometimes called a finger whistle – when he officiates the game.

Xbox 360 Game

In netballing vocabulary Xbox 360 is a PlayStation video game.

Youth Camp

Netball Youth Camps give junior players the chance to get together with their friends and take to the court in the holidays!

Zone Defence

We thought it would be very difficult to find an entry for the last letter of the alphabet for netball terms referring to skills from A to Z – but we succeeded.

In netball defending key words, the zone defence is the name related to the team plan when defending a specific area of the court.

How to break a zone defence in netball is a phrase referring mostly to team sports as an alternative technique to man-to-man marking. Instead of a player guarding a corresponding player, each defensive player is given a ‘zone’ to cover.

Note: The netball terminology PDF version is also available by email. Please contact our sports team for further information.

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Netball Terms and Definitions Used by Players and Officials