In 1891 James Naismith, a Canadian immigrant to the United States of America, was asked to invent an energetic indoor game for high-spirited young men. He came up with basketball, which so captivated his female colleagues that they began playing too. Within a short time, Naismith's rules were misinterpreted by a sports teacher in New Orleans, USA, and netball was born. The all-women sport quickly spread to England and the British Commonwealth. The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) estimates that there are in excess of 20 million women playing netball in some 80 countries around the world.

Learn more about Netball on the The World Games Channel.



Netball in a nutshell ...

Netball is a fast, skillful team game based on running, jumping, throwing and catching. Teams may include up to twelve players, but only seven may take the court at any one time. The major aim of the game is to score as many goals as possible from within an area called the "Goal Circle". Only two players from each team may score goals; the "Goal Attack" and the "Goal Shooter."

The ball is made of leather, rubber or similar material, weighing 400 - 450 grams (14 - 16 ounces) and measuring 690 - 710 mm (27 - 28 inches) in circumference. The court is 30.5 meters (100 feet) long and 15.25 meters (50 feet) wide, which is divided into thirds. There is a center circle with a diameter of 0.9 meters (3 feet) and two goal circles which are semi-circles measuring 4.9 meters (16 feet) in radius.

Letters for identification ...

All players have a playing position determined by the areas on the court where they may move. The playing positions are shown by identification letters worn above the waist, on both the front and the back of the player. Those positions are GS, "Goal Shooter," GA,"Goal Attack," etc.

Multi-sport games ...

Netball made its third and, unfortunately, to date last appearance in The World Games in 1993 in The Hague, Netherlands, from where the netball final between Australia and New Zealand was broadcast live to the game's most appreciative television audiences downunder. Netball is also a core sport on the program of the Commonwealth Games.

The IFNA World Netball Championships are held every four years. 2011 Singapore is the latest edition.

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