Age to start:

Children can begin participating in netball through a Netball New Zealand initiative called ‘Fun Ferns’. This programme is designed for children aged between 5 and 7 years and it aims to develop the basic motor skills of children in a fun and safe environment. It teaches movement and passing skills.

Players aged 8 to 10 years play ‘Future Ferns’ netball that is designed to develop a wider range of skills and knowledge about the game. Special equipment and rules are used and players rotate through all seven positions.

For years 7 and 8 (11-13 years), competitions follow the rules of the game and players start to specialise in a certain area of the court ie shooting, mid-court or defence.

Rules of the game:

The basic rules of netball are:

  • The game is played over four 15 minute quarters although this may vary according to each centre rules.
  •  Each team starts with seven players on the court. Each player is assigned a position and is only allowed in designated areas of the court.
  •  The game starts with a centre pass taken at the umpire’s whistle and is alternated after each goal is scored.
  •  A goal is awarded when either the goal shooter or goal attack shoots a goal through the goal ring. One point is awarded for each goal with the object of the game to score more goals than the opposition
  •  An opposing player must remain .9m (3 feet) from the player who has the ball. If a player invades this space, a penalty will be called by the referee

Find all the rules of netball


Netball is suitable for boys and girls to develop basic motor skills at an early age. Fun Ferns is a great way for young children to become involved in netball. As children become older, netball is targeted more for girls rather than boys.

The different positions in netball enable participants of all different shapes and sizes to participate. It is a non-contact sport so the risk of serious injury is minimal.

Sign up dates:

While the local centre will administer the sport and programmes, most primary/intermediate netball is organised through schools. Individuals can register for Fun Ferns, but schools generally co-ordinate and register teams for Future Ferns and Intermediate teams.

Sporting tips:

To successfully participate in netball you require:

  • A good level of fitness
  • Proficient ball skills, in particular passing and catching
  • Agility
  • The ability to work well within a team

Visit the Netball NZ website

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