For young beginners in netball, there's usually a choice of two starting points:
- a school team
- a club team
This will depend on where you live and your age, but in most cases playing for a school team is the first choice.
The Netball New Zealand Junior Netball Policy recommends special rules and equipment to help young players.
The programmes, divided into three age groups, have been designed for players between 5 and 12 years old, to help players gain confidence and build up netball skills.
Fun Ferns: 5-7 years
- For children keen to get into netball as young as possible - have fun learning the basics of the game.
- Uses smaller ball designed especially for little hands.
- Uses hoops rather than goalposts.
- Numbers instead of positions on bibs.
- Learn how to turn and pass down the court towards the team’s goal.
- Straight line play.
- Understand about space on the netball court.
- Movement skills – running, jumping, landing.
Future Ferns: 8-10 years
- More focus on movement and passing skills such as dodging, defending and passing into space.
- Develop a wider range of skills and knowledge about the game.
- Special equipment and rules used.
- Size 4 balls – not full size yet.
- Positional bibs worn i.e. WA, C, GS.
- Goalposts used - 2.6 metres.
- Players get to play all seven positions i.e. up to four positions in each game.
Years 7 & 8: 11-12 years
- Aimed at more experienced, older players.
- Concentrates more on skill-development work aimed at specific positions.
- Full height goal post used - 3.05 metres.
- Players start to specialise in one or two positions or in a certain area of the court i.e. shooting, defending, circle.
- Competitions follow the rules of the game.
Secondary School Netball
- Netball in New Zealand has more secondary school players than any other sport.
- The competitions at this level are exciting and challenging.
- Many schools play in inter-school competitions; others comepte in local club competitions.
- Players can compete in regional and national tournaments.
- A New Zealand Secondary Schools team is selected each year and competes against international teams. The current team won the 2008 International Schoolgirls title in Adelaide.
- Coaching becomes more intense at this level with committed training sessions and fitness requirements.
Age Group Netball
Promising netballers in secondary school competitions are selected to try out for age group teams competing in inter-centre and regional competitions. Netball New Zealand holds an annual Age Group Championship for under -17, under-19 and under-23players.
- Under-15 (Years 7 and 8)
Club netball can be played at any age, but most players move onto a club once they leave high school. There may be one or more clubs to choose from in an area. The choice is up to the individual but there is often a club linked to a player’s former school or where their friends play. The local Netball Centre is the best place to start for more details.