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Umpire Hand Signals in Netball

Umpires will announce rule decisions in the correct sequence. They give concise directions to all players in both teams.

A good netball referee takes officiating to a higher level. Find out how umpires signal and emphasize the terms used while refereeing a game.

Hand Signals and Whistle Use in Netball

One of the key roles of officials is using precise and sequenced terminology to indicate, and then state, any rule infringements.

Thus, umpires need to give clear voice calls combined with sharp whistle prompts. They also use gestures (hand signals) for further clarity.

Doing so means all competitors receive appropriate and unambiguous enforcement of the regulations handed out by ruling officials.

Players face many challenges during a match. Hence, umpires should make clear decisions using the correct and comprehensive phrasing.

There is some help for trainee referees and inexperienced umpires in the IFNA Rule Book. But, netball umpiring tips tend to be limited and minimal.

Here's the bottom line:

Try to keep things simple and use the right umpiring terminology. Simply put, it should reflect which rule is being penalized on the court and with clarity.

The officials sometimes refer to the proper sequencing as the 5 'W's. They play a similar role to those covered in our netball frequently asked questions, and apply to most infractions in the game.

This list will help you learn what to say (and what not to say) as an umpire. The explanations should follow that precise moment when you blow the netball whistle for an infringement or rules' violation.

Netball Umpiring Hand Signals and Finger Whistle Use5 'W' Terms of Netball Umpiring

  1. What: What is the infringement?
  2. Who: Who committed the rules violation?
  3. What: What advantage has been awarded?
  4. Who: Who is receiving the advantage?
  5. Where: Where should the next play get taken from?

Note: A loud whistle and good strong voice are an umpire's two chief tools. Whistleblowing stops the play and speech controls the game. Give clear instructions with brief reasoning behind your decision to both teams. The communication should also extend to any other umpires and assistants.

Umpiring Terms and their Meanings

The expressions in bold font represent common umpiring terminologies and rulings. The phrases (explained in brackets) are brief descriptions of the correct netballing terminologies that they relate to:

Netball Whistle and Communication

Umpires and referees use a finger whistle to state their decisions and emphasize playing regulations. As a rule, most officials in netball will make a short sharp blow using a finger whistle.

The player that breaches the rules needs to see the official and hear the umpire whistle. Thus, umpires give clear hand signals in netball for extra communication. Whistle blasts are also blown to start the game and each time a goal gets scored.

Umpire whistles are used to:

Umpiring Tips: A finger whistle is easy to handle. But, any pea whistle is fine for netball umpiring. All players and assistant officials must hear the blast. It is most effective when combined with clear and unambiguous hand signals.

Good Qualities of Netball Umpires

Umpires' Duty of Care to the Players

Advanced Training and Help Guides

Note: The short video clip is useful for anyone who is unsure about how netball hand signals relate to the rules and regulations.

Hand Signals in Netball and their Meanings for United Kingdom