Netball Rules

General rules

  1. No player is permitted to participate in any Dublin Indoor Sports league without first reading, understanding and signing the Dublin Indoor Sports Indemnity forms. It is an individual’s and captain’s responsibility to ensure that this is done. Please ask the Venue co-ordinator for this form.
  2. Nails must be cut short and jewellery removed. Jewellery (i.e. earrings, rings, necklaces, watches etc) is NOT permitted on the court for safety purposes. In cases where jewellery cannot be removed (e.g. wedding bands, earrings) – these must be taped to the skin.
  3. Appropriate behaviour must be adhered to at all times from all participants (i.e. players, team officials, supporters, parents). Dublin Indoor Sports reserve the right to ask any person(s) to leave the premises or, for more severe cases, ban person(s) from future participation.
  4. All players must play no less than three games for a team if he/she wishes to play in the semi finals and finals. Before each game the captain must advise the Sports Co-ordinator on duty who is playing for his or her team.
  5. All players must be registered and have paid their registration fee in order to qualify to play in the semi finals and finals.

Game rules

Netball is played on a rectangular court, which is divided into areas called thirds. There are two goal thirds and between them is the centre third. The centre circle is in the middle of the centre third and this is where play begins. At the end of each goal third is a `goal circle’, which is actually a semi-circle around the goal hoop. All goals must be shot by a player within the goal circle.

The teams have a goal post each and can only score by shooting the ball through their own hoop. Each player is allowed in only a certain area of the court and the lines on the court are part of the playing area.

Starting play

Play is started with a pass from the centre circle – this is called the centre pass. There is a centre pass at the beginning of each quarter and half, and after each goal is scored. The teams take turns making the centre pass. The person making the centre pass must stand in the centre circle. The opposing centre can stand anywhere in the centre third but all other players must stay in the goal thirds (behind the middle third lines) until the umpire blows the whistle to start play. The centre pass has to be received in the centre third.


Each player is allowed in only a certain area of the court. If a player steps into an area or any part of their body touches the ground in an area their playing position is not allowed to go, will be ruled offside.


Once a player has landed with the ball, the first landed foot is called the grounded foot and must either stay on the ground or in the air until the ball is passed on. Regrounding that same foot a second time while still in possession of the ball is a step which will result in a free pass to the opposition. Similarly, a hop, slide or drag of the grounded foot is not permitted.

Playing the ball

Once the ball has been caught, the player must pass it or shoot for goal within three seconds.


When a player is defending another player or trying to intercept the ball they must be at least 0.9 metres away from the grounded foot of the player who has the ball.


A player is not allowed to physically contact an opponent if it disrupts or stops that person from playing. Pushing the ball out of an opponent’s hands is also not permitted.

Penalty pass or shot

For contact, obstruction or moving the goalpost penalties, the offending player must stand down from play, away from the thrower and where the umpire has indicated. A goal shooter or goal attack taking the penalty pass or shot in the goal circle can either pass the ball or shoot for goal.

Throw in

When the ball goes out of court, the umpire takes note of which team touched it last. The throw in is then taken by a player from the opposing team close to where the ball went out of court. Standing close to the line from the outside of court, the player has three seconds to get the ball back in play.


Two umpires have control of the game and make the on-court decisions about the run of play.