How to Teach Netball Rules to Young Children

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Netball is a game popular primarily in the Commonwealth countries. It began as a girls' game, but has since developed into a larger community, encompassing girls' leagues, boys leagues and unisex leagues. It bears a resemblance to basketball, but there are significant differences.

It is a complex game with many specific rules. Teaching these rules to small children can seem like a daunting task, but with time and patience, it can be done.

Familiarise the child with the netball. Practice passing the ball back and forth with your child. Explain that, in netball, the ball must be passed from person to person. Once the child is familiar with passing, try moving and passing.

Show the child the hoop. Ideally, you have access to a children's court which has a lower hoop. Regardless, demonstrate shooting the ball through the hoop and have the child practice shooting.

Describe the positions of the team as you practice. For example, when you are practicing goal shooting, you can tell the child that the goal shooter would normally be doing this. As you pass from the centre circle, you can say that would be the center's job, and so on. This way the child can begin to become familiar with the various positions of a netball team.

Explain the sections of the court as you practice passing and shooting with the child. You don't need to spend a lot of time lecturing about the different sections, as a child won't have the patience to listen, but you can say, for example, "This is the centre circle," as you are demonstrating passing from the centre circle. In this way, they can become familiar with the court layout in a gradual way.

Correct obvious violations of the rules by casually adding them to the conversation. For example, if they try to pass too close to you, you can mention that there needs to be enough room between you for another player to stand.