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Are you and your teammates presenting properly for passes?

When every player presents and passes correctly your team will be more efficient in taking the ball to the goal shooters!

Accurate passing is the most important netball skill of all, but if players are out of position or don’t present for the ball the team will struggle to improve.

One of the most costly mistakes players or a team as a whole can make is to try to take the ball to the goal circle too fast.

By “going too fast”, (catch and pass while still in motion, sometimes called “stalking”) quickly becomes habit forming, and as a result the individual player will…

a) Only have flashes of good play rather than playing consistently for the WHOLE game.

b) Continually find herself out of position because she hasn’t had time to re-balance and pick up her player/players.

Watching state level netball on television the passing of the ball is seemingly so fast it looks like the players are indeed running on with the ball (stalking), but, if you were to play the game back in slow motion you would see that each player is NOT running but presenting herself properly to take the pass.

National, state and divisional teams play the same way as a properly trained Under 17 representative team but at a quicker, smoother and more controlled pace. The principles of play are the same for all teams.

There are six stages from leading for the ball to passing it. The sequence is…

Lead – Call - Catch - STOP - Balance - Pass

By running on the player is NOT balanced and this therefore increases the chance of having her pass intercepted. She also eliminates steps 4, 5 and sometimes 6. She also loses her allotted “within three seconds” to keep control of the game. Netball, like all team sports, is about possession of the ball.

1. Presenting (leading) for the ball is creating an uncontested space on court. You must lose (shake off) your opponent. You need to be quick and agile so that you can run hard and change direction quickly to leave your opponent behind. Don’t call for the ball yet.

2. Calling for the ball is vital to keeping the attack flowing and the ball in your possession. If a player doesn’t call for the ball she will not be seen and the ball is subsequently passed to the next player further up the court.

This is poor play! Let me explain why.

If the Centre has the ball and she doesn’t hear a call from her WA and passes directly to the GA there is often no-one left to pass on to heading to the goal circle.

If your GS is well defended or if she comes out of the circle to help she can only hope the GA gets back into the circle before passing time elapses. You really don’t want to take the ball to far away from the goal circle after all the work to get it down there.

By bypassing a player, team positions are compromised, and this gives the opposition easy attempts at intercepting the ball. It cannot be emphasized enough that good defense will snare the ball almost every time through of out of position play.

There are exceptions of course where longpasses are beneficial, but these are rare, maybe one or two a game. If the team you are playing are always in their respective positions you won’t have this opportunity too often. Call for the ball loudly as you finish your lead.

3. Catching the ball means just that, it is caught, not batted on or tapped out of play. You see many players batting at the ball rather than snatching it out of the air so that it can be passed on. If a player doesn’t catch the ball and it goes out of court, then the next two stages are by-passed as your opposition has the “throw-in” and your team has to re-set their defensive positioning all over again.

To catch the ball spread your fingers wide and really grasp onto it and your grip should be firm so that the ball cannot be knocked easily from your hands.

4. Once you have caught the ball, “stop” otherwise spaces will form with no one to fill them let alone finding a player to pass the ball to. A lob or long pass is then needed, which in most cases are easily intercepted.

5. Now that you have caught the ball and stopped you must be properly balanced before passing. If not the pass will be inaccurate forcing your player to reposition herself and most likely will be intercepted, go out of court or worse still you have deprived your team of the ball because you chose to pass while not “in control”, as you were off balance.

6. Now you pass the ball. If the five steps above have been executed correctly and your teammates are presenting themselves for the ball, your passes will be accurate and straight into the hands of your teammate.

Apply all six steps and you have the game sown up! A final note on taking the ball up the court. Don’t be afraid to pass backwards. If, for example your WA and GA are being well defended pass back to your WD or GD, they should be prepared and ready to take the pass. Now start your attacking play again.

Fast running on with the ball may look flashy and the players seem untouchable, but, if they come up against a good anticipating defense the team will be in all sorts of trouble. Confidence is easily knocked around and this can lead to your team being 5 goals down rather quickly.

By playing positional netball, you will be able to bounce back from being a few goals down because your team has kept a stable pace. All too often when a team is down a few goals, players panic and immediately try to speed up their play to compensate and all that happens is your skills become sloppy.

Positional play in a team is a team that never has sloppy play. Give me a lesser skilled team of positional players over a team of “talented players” any day and I’ll show you a team on the way to the Grand Final. 

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Courtside Tactical Play

Tactics #1
This crucial tactic will
show you how the professionals get the ball past the defenders to the goal shooters.

Please note: All players swap between being attackers and defenders depending on which team has possession of the ball. You need to know how goal shooters work the circle otherwise GA & GS will have all their own way. Tactics #2 will show you what's going on in the circle!

Tactics #2
You have got the ball to the shooters. What next? It is critical all players know how to work the goal circle to prevent a turnover.

Also learn the goal shooting technique that will have you shooting a high percentage of goals in any tough competition.

Download your free netball tactics ebook