Netball is a sport, particularly popular to be played within Commonwealth nations. A normal team in netball consists of seven players, and no more than 5 substitutions (or commonly referred to as subs).
If you’re curious to learn whether height matters in a game of netball, the answer is both yes and no. The answer varies depending on what position a player chooses, in addition to their skill level.
Whether you’re under 5’7 or over, netball may still hold itself to be a game you can enjoy- regardless of height. As long as you have adequate skills, and an ability to choose the most appropriate position- netball is a high-energetic sport that can serve as exceptional fun!
Advantages of Height in Different Positions
As mentioned above, generally, height only matters depending on the particular position a player chooses. There are certain advantages related to height, particularly with positions focused on defense or shooting.
Here is a list of positions where height can serve as an advantage:
- Goal Shoot
- Goal Attack
- Goal Keep
- Goal Defense
- Wing Defense
The reasons why height can serve as an advantage for these positions are due to 4 reasons.
1. The Taller You Are, The Easier It Is to Defend Your Opponent
When defending your opponent on the opposition team, height can play a huge factor in defense. If you’re tall, you have an increased opportunity to intercept the ball by jumping or obstructing your opponent.
2. An Increased Chance at Scoring a Goal
It’s no secret that height can serve as an advantage when it comes to shooting a goal, and netball is no different. The taller you are, in conjunction with perfecting shooting skills, you have a much higher chance of scoring a goal as opposed to someone shorter.
3. Your Height Allows More Reach
“Reach” refers to the ability to defend a player using body mass and arms. For taller players, there’s a higher chance they’ll be able to use reach more accurately compared to a less tall player.
4. The Lower Your Skill Level, The More Reliant on Height You Can Be
For new players with a low skill level, the huge advantage they’ll have is their incredible height. They don’t necessarily need to know how to play like a professional- their height disguises much of the work.
Usually, lower skill-leveled players are sought to be goal shoot, goal keep, or goal attack. This way they can practice shooting goals, defending (due to their height), or doing both (goal attack’s position).
Overall, this can serve as a huge advantage for someone new to the game who can bring their height and enthusiasm to practice.
When Height Becomes a Disadvantage
Although it’s rare, there are certain times when height may become a disadvantage in the game of netball. The main example of height becoming a disadvantage is when there’s a need to quickly change directions.
In netball, a tall player must learn the technique of being agile- in order to swiftly change directions if required, according to the gameplay.
This is because most of the shorter players in the opposition team are usually the “Attack” positions. Meaning they’re often fast, swifty, and can change directions quickly.
For someone tall, this can be a huge disadvantage as the shorter players can move around the court with little to no effort (unlike someone taller).
Thankfully, this is a skill that can be taught with continuous practice- and does not need to be a long term disadvantage.
When Shorter is Better
In the game of netball, don’t mistake the benefits associated with being a shorter player. There are numerous advantages indicated when shorter is better in netball.
Here is a list of reasons when shorter is better in a game of netball:
- You’re likely to be quicker in running around the court
- Can move into free spaces/areas faster than someone taller
- Ability to move around a players body when they least expect it (rather than relying on height, reach, or body mass)
- Giving and receiving bounce passes serve to be no issue
- Have an advantage in maintaining balance
- Can learn special skills used to combat a players height
Many people believe being short provides no opportunity to either play a game, to win a game or become a long-term professional player. This is all false, as it’s proven short players with exceptional skills can play just as good as someone tall.
Height doesn’t automatically make you a good player, and being short doesn’t mean you’re a bad player. Continue reading to learn how you can make up for your lack of structure in the game of netball, through the use of certain skills and techniques.
Make Up for Your Lack of Stature
Speed is incredibly valuable in the game of netball. If you can focus on improving your cardio, it won’t matter how tall or short you are.
Training yourself to run multiple speeds for a prolonged period is a foolproof way to not only make up for your lack of structure- but will provide impeccable support towards helping your team carry the ball into the shooter’s circle.
If you can manage to keep a firm balance in netball, lack of structure has no say in your ability to thrive as a netball player! Balance is required in netball in order to accurately land two feet on the ground, say- when intercepting a ball.
It also helps to have a steady balance when running around from place to place and quickly needing to switch directions.
Another way to make up for your lack of structure is by the simple method of jumping. Optimize your current height by jumping for the ball as much as possible.
When intercepting, reaching for a rebound, or simply receiving a pass- perfect the jumping method and you’re good to go!
Agility and Reflexes
Agility and reflexes are two required skills that players must master. If you are short in height, focus on perfecting these skills.
The better agility and reflexes you have, the easier it’ll be to intercept and pass/play the ball- regardless of the height of your opponent.
A tall defender won’t seem nearly as bad if you can focus on perfecting the skills of agility and reflexes.
Regardless of height, if you have exceptional ball-handling skills in addition to fabulous techniques- it’s safe to say you immediately make up for your lack of structure.
Even a tall player isn’t always good at utilizing their ball-handling skills; Which is when you come into it!
If you’re able to perfect your ball handling skills to suit not only yourself but the height of your team- there’s no reason why you can’t be just as good!
Along with everything else in a game of netball, work ethic can set you apart and certainly will make up for your lack of stature.
If you’re able to proactively work with your team, getting to know not only your skills and weaknesses but theirs too- you can ensure lack of stature is no match for a player who can work well with a team.
Overall, a great technique is another wonderful key in making up for a lack of stature in a game of netball. If you manage to form a unique and great technique, that adapts well to most positions and the rest of your team- chances are you have just as good as a chance compared to someone taller!
Average Height in Netball
Professional netball players range in height, depending on the individual team and the country they play for.
Although there’s no official guideline surrounding height in netball, there’s certainly a trend around the average height of players found within most competitive teams.
Generally speaking, the average height in netball for professional players range between 5.5 feet – 6.2 feet. This slightly exceeds the worldwide average height of a woman.
Overall- it’s clear to say that height sort of does, sort of doesn’t matter in a game of netball.
The main thing a person should remember is if you’re tall and particularly low in skill-level, you have the advantage to use height in positions focused around the shooter’s circle- as opposed to someone shorter.
If you’re shorter, focus on perfecting skills around agility and speed- making sure to utilize your speed and space to your advantage.
When you focus on refining personal technique and skills, height doesn’t matter in a game of professional netball.