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What's the difference between basketball and netball?

Basketball and netball are two separate court sports that share the common features of hoops and teams, however their rules, court sizes, team sizes, and scoring systems set them apart. Let's explore their differences to better understand these two distinct sports.

Netball: A Sport of Precision and Teamwork

Netball is a popular team sport that has gained widespread recognition for its fast-paced, dynamic gameplay and emphasis on teamwork. Played predominantly by women, netball has a rich history and a dedicated following in countries like Australia, New Zealand, England, and several others.

Whether as a competitive sport or a recreational activity, netball provides participants with the opportunity to develop physical fitness, strategic thinking, and a strong sense of camaraderie within their team.


Netball has its origins in early versions of basketball. The sport was initially played in England in the late 19th century. It was designed as a women's alternative to basketball, focusing on more restricted movement and no dribbling of the ball. Netball quickly spread to British colonies, particularly Australia and New Zealand, and has since become a beloved sport in these nations.

Rules and Gameplay

Netball is played by two teams, each consisting of seven players. The objective is to score goals by shooting the ball through the opposing team's hoop, which is positioned at the end of the court.

Players have specific positions and zones on the court, with strict rules about where they can move and how they can interact with the opposition. Netball is known for its rules against running with the ball (you must pivot on one foot) and for limiting player movement within certain areas of the court.

The game is played in quarters, with each lasting 15 minutes. There are halftime breaks and short breaks between quarters.

Court Setup

A netball court is typically 30.5 meters (100 feet) long and 15.25 meters (50 feet) wide. The court is divided into thirds, and players have designated areas of the court where they are allowed to move and interact with the opposition. There are two goal circles, one at each end, where players attempt to score by shooting the ball through the opponent's goal. The court is marked with specific lines, including the centre circle and transverse lines.

Skills and Techniques

Netball requires a combination of skills, including passing, shooting, catching, and defensive play. Accurate and swift passing is crucial for maintaining possession and finding teammates in scoring positions.

Shooting is a specialised skill, and shooters must be precise and confident. Defenders need to anticipate the opposition's moves and intercept passes. Footwork and agility are vital for players, given the limitations on running and stepping.

Netball also demands exceptional teamwork and communication among teammates to create scoring opportunities and prevent the opposition from doing the same.