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.
Junior Netball is a designed to meet the needs of children without losing the essence of the game. The game grows with the players and supports their development allowing the players to gain confidence, play with their friends, make new friends and develop the FUNdamental Netball skills. Our challenge as adults is simple – to help young people fall in love with Netball.
Year 1 & 2: 5 – 6 year olds
- For children keen to get into Netball - have fun learning the basic Fundamental Movement Skills
- 4 v 4 game on a smaller court
- Smaller balls designed especially for little hands
- Lower goals
- Each Game Day involves skill development e.g. pivoting and game time 4 v 4
- This allows players to pass, catch and shoot from the first session
Year 3 & 4: 7- 8 year olds
- Focus on developing the basic Netball skills - movement, ball, shooting, attack and defence.
- 5 v 5 on 2/3 of the Netball court.
- Lower goals - 2.6 metres
- Size 4 ball
- Positional bibs either 2 x A, 1 x C and 2 x D or GA, GS, C, GD and GK
- Rotation of positions throughout the game to ensure equal opportunities for all
- Game Day commences with a 15 minute skill development session whereby the Junior Co-ordinator(s) will introduce and new skill to the players and coaches.
- Followed by a 5 v 5 game consisting of four 8 minute quarters
Year 5 & 6: 9 - 10 year olds
- Focus on developing the basic Netball skills and tactics.
- Modified 7 v 7
- Lower goals - 2.6 metres
- Size 4 ball – not full size yet
- Rotation of positions to ensure players gain an understanding and an ability to play in the various positions
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.