How to defend
Positioning is all important when defending.
There is no point in defenders running backwards allowing the attacking player push you down the court. This
happens when some players think they are 'zoning'! I don't know how many times I see this happening. I'm not sure
where this comes from or why defenders let it happen.
The defenders job is to stay close to her opponent NOT play chasey with
Defenders should be adopting the side on or side by side style
defending and this way you are with the goaler, not being 4 metres in front of her giving her free reign up the
court taking passes and throws at will.
A defender really has to think about what she is doing out on the court...
As a defender your job is to stay in the contest. You must learn to use your outside arm to defend with - anything other than that you are going to be called
Be aware that as a defender you're going to attract the Umpire's full attention all of the time.
If you can tap a ball on the rebound you can catch it, as there is no point in tapping the ball out of
court, as you're only given it straight back to the other team for a throw-in close to goal.
Some defenders just don't think about what they are doing, it's not just a matter of running around
hoping you'll get the ball from a bad pass in. Your job is to put pressure on the
goaler, make her day as hard as you can. Let her know that you are
around. Never give her a free reign.
You know that it is a non-contact sport so don't continue on the path that has seen you penalised
whenever you go near the ball. Use your noggin and think about how you can make the goaler accountable
If you are being called for contact, back off.
If you are being called for obstruction take half a step back to show the Umpire that you are taking
notice of what s/he is calling you for.
How to be a good defender...
Stay on your toes, don't stand flat footed. You can't take off quickly if you're
not anticipating the ball coming down.
Practice changing positions with the other defender if you are comfortable. Though, if you are a new
partnership I wouldn't recommend it, learn to play with each other first. Get to know where you both
are in the circle, remembering not to get in each others way. One to the top
and one on the base line or one to each side of the circle.
Fill the vacant spaces in the goal circle, make the attackers work hard for
possession, remember, use the outside arm. This again is something that should be practiced at training
and at home. You don't need a netball or another player. Whenever you think of it, thrust your
outside arm out and across in front of you. Notice how far away from the body this action is.
Combine with your other defenders, using plenty of chat, which helps let your fellow defender know
what's happening while she is concentrating on her opponent.
As a defender, you see something that you think can help your teammate chat about it when play is down
I'm not a great believer in holding onto a skirt so that the other player can have a greater defending
reach - it puts you out of the contest. How do you
expect to be able to rebound or protect a pass-off whilst holding another's skirt?
If defenders practice jumping each night of the week they'd be surprised just how quickly the leap
would become a strong high jump to use when intercepting not only passes but also assaulting shots on
Having a good stretch over the ball when the shooter has it takes practice. Practising a defender's
stretch needs be done every day of the week, not just the two nights at training. A few minutes is
plenty if you want to improve - there are no shortcuts to become a good defender.
Defending is fast foot work with a lot of hassling.
Don't leave everything up to your fellow defender, guide her if needed, or better still get in
there and have a go, support her. You have to work as a team/duo NOT as individual defenders.
Never be afraid of making mistakes and being pulled up by the umpire - it is going to happen. Every
umpire is different so you need to adjust to their calls.
Are you netball fit?
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This crucial tactic will show you how the professionals get the ball past
the defenders to the goal
Please note: All players swap
between being attackers and defenders depending on which team has possession of the ball. You
need to know how goal shooters work the circle otherwise GA & GS will have all their own
way. Tactics #2 will show you what's going on in the
You have got the ball to the shooters. What next? It is critical all players know how to work the
goal circle to prevent a turnover.
Also learn the goal shooting technique that will have you shooting a high percentage of goals in
any tough competition.