I have recently begun my year abroad working as an English language assistant in a secondary school in the north of Italy and for my first lessons with my classes, the teachers asked me to prepare a presentation about my life in the UK. I had to include information about my family, my studies and my hobbies. The students then asked me questions to find out more and many of them asked, ‘Do you play any sports?’, to which I replied, ‘Yes, I play netball.' Each time, I was met with a sea of bewildered faces as none of the students had heard of netball!
Netball is particularly popular in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and I have played this wonderful game since I was at primary school. It is a team sport which is similar to both basketball and handball. There are seven players on each team and they each wear a bib which shows the name of the position they play. Players must throw the ball to one another and the aim of the game is to pass the ball to the ‘Goal Shooter’ or ‘Goal Attack’ who can shoot the ball into the net to score a goal. However, the key aspects of netball are that you cannot bounce the ball and you cannot move your feet when you have the ball. This is called the footwork rule and it can be quite difficult to grasp for young children playing the game! A full match lasts for one hour and in a single match often about 100 goals are scored which shows what a fast-paced and exciting game netball is!
Netball is typically played by women and girls. However, at many universities, there are mixed netball leagues in which teams must have both male and female players. In the UK, there are many different schemes to try to inspire people to play netball. One such scheme is called ‘Back to Netball’ which encourages women who have not played netball since they were at school to rediscover their love for the sport and get back on the court! Walking netball is another variation of the sport aimed at older women and those who want to exercise in a gentler way. So, why not watch a video of netball online and then have a go for yourself?
Which sports are popular in your country?