It is not difficult to get around taller opposition as a defender. It’s all in technique. When I
first started coaching I had a defender who was 5′ 3″, she was dynamic around the court and since then I’ve had
numerous players who aren’t anywhere near 6 foot tall and they manage brilliantly.
The key to being a good defender is reading the play – using the first
five minutes or so to work out the way the ball is coming in.
Anticipation is another practice I have all Rep players develop. I
encourage these players to stay close to their opponent, really hassle her to make the player earn every ball. Lastly every defender
must be prepared to run and never give up.
I have not been too concerned about defenders giving away penalties, especially out near the
edge of the goal circle. As a past defender myself I recognize the frustrations that defenders have to put up
with being pulled up for indiscretions.
Never be afraid to contest the ball as this
is how you improve.
Watch the “spring back” off the goal ring when your opponents are practicing their shooting, get an
eye for how far the rebound goes out then when you take the court adjust your position ready to take the
Many of our Rep defenders are on the short side because these players must be able to move and
know how to hassle for the ball. Speed and agility comes before height. Being able to leap has a greater
advantage than height.
Tall goal shooters are often guilty of laziness. Use this to your advantage and keep forward of
It may surprise you, but goal shooting is the very best reflex exercise you can do for netball.
Hone a skill to improve another one. As a defender goal shooting practice builds great reflexes in
rebounding and attacking the goal
ring (not literally) and terrific hand eye coordination.
- Read and anticipate play by looking at the body language of the players.
- Don’t be afraid to contest play and hassle for the ball.
- Position yourself for the rebound off the goal ring.
- Teach yourself to leap, which more than compensates for lack of height.