File photo credit: sportrec.qldc.govt.nz
By Yeo Han Hwee
Netball is still in the process of shaking off the stereotypical image of being “just a girls sport”. It’s ideal for guys too, and is terrific for young children. It is a non-contact sport, so it is very safe. The emphasis is on teamwork, skill, and communication, all of which makes the sport a great way to introduce such concepts to kids!
Difference To Basketball
Firstly, let’s clarify the key differences between netball and basketball. There are several to note. A proper regulation court is a bit larger than a basketball court, being 30.5 meters long and 15.25 meters wide. The hoop has no backboard unlike basketball, so you need to be very accurate when scoring.
The gameplay is very different. In netball, there are seven players per team. Each player is given a "position" that defines his/her responsibility and restricts their role to a specified area of the court (roughly a third). Thus, a Wing Attack cannot enter the semicircle to score a point. Only a Goal Attack and Goal Shooter can try and score.
Ball handling is totally different. You can't throw the ball across the court to your teammate. It has to be passed through every section. You cannot run and dribble the ball as well. Instead, you either step or pivot from your landing foot before passing the ball on. Once you have it, the opposing team defenders have to block while keeping 0.9 metres away from you.
To keep the gameplay fast, once you have possession, you must pass the ball or shoot for goal within three seconds. Lastly, you have to stay in the same spot when you try to score. No slam dunks, sorry!
Mental And Social Benefits For Kids
So, what are the benefits of the game? Well, netball is a team sport and it is an ideal way to meet new people. It is also a great way for boys and girls to mix and socialise in a controlled environment.
Furthermore, players must cooperate successfully to attack, defend and score goals. Therefore, it will teach kids to work together, and improve their social and verbal skills.
Physical Benefits For Kids
Netball requires players to run around the pitch, sprint, and change direction quickly. Therefore, it is a good cardiovascular workout, and will improve overall fitness. Their flexibility and strength will increase as well.
As each player is assigned a role, passing the ball is extremely important (remember, you cannot run and dribble). That means that your child will develop good hand-eye co-ordination, depth perception, and reaction time.
Another benefit of netball is that it will NOT break the bank. After booking the courts, you only need a pair of shoes, and the ball. You don’t need to buy accessories, like racquets or clubs. So, this is not an expensive game to take up. And it is a terrific way to make new friends!
Visit netball.org.sg or mixednetball.sg to find out more.
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