Line the players up side by side and they might all be tall and boast pinpoint accuracy, but their games are worlds apart. Netball focuses on an entire squad, not one superstar, and that’s just one of the reasons why – whether you’re playing or watching – professional and amateur netball players think its the better sport.
Basketball is great and all, but here are five reasons why you should be watching the Superleague and not the NBA.
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1. Backboard vs no backboard
"No contest. A backboard is cheating in my opinion." Natalie Morris
One of the most obvious differences when you're looking at a basketball and a netball court is that netball players score goals by shooting through a hoop, without the backboard that’s used in basketball. Arguably, this requires netball shooters to have a greater degree of accuracy.
2. The three-second rule
”Coming from a basketball background, the first time I played netball I thought I’d played the toughest sport ever. The main reason is the three-second rule. That gives the match a rhythm/speed that no other sport has. It’s so intense. Every movement and pass counts so much. With any other sports (including basketball) you can slow the pace down and breathe… not with netball!” Damaride McConnell
With only three seconds to land, look across the court, assess your options and decide who to pass to, netballers can’t sneakily dribble the ball to buy time. They’re the geniuses of the court. The pressures are unparalleled and that’s why netballers are the real superheroes.
3. Speed and spectators
“Netball has so much more off-the-ball movement, there’s more action. I’ve watched a lot of live basketball, and I love it but it doesn’t liven up to me until the last quarter. [With netball] I think there’s more stuff going on throughout the 60 minutes, so, for me, netball is hands down a better game. It’s quicker as well, I know you can run with the ball in basketball but, actually, when you watch top-class netball, it’s faster.” Tamsin Greenway, England and Wasps
Tasmin's not wrong. Netball’s a faster game due to the three-second rule and the fact that you can’t dribble. Why? Because throwing a ball will ensure it gets to its destination faster than running with it. This means transitioning from attack into defence is a challenge for netballers but also one of the greatest things about watching it – the players have got to keep on their toes, as do the fans. The NBA might be better known but the Superleague is the true spectator sport, you’ll have whiplash from trying to keep up.
4. Restrictions = smarter play
“You have to be able to use all seven players because not everyone can go everywhere in netball, whereas, in basketball, you can, so you have to have everyone doing their job in a netball game.” Natalie Haythornthwaite, England and Wasps.
“More restrictions in netball mean that you have to play smart, think tactically and use every player! It’s a great-team sport with no real room for one person to hog the limelight, and the level of sportsmanship is great.” Emma Redley.
Unlike in basketball, netball players have their set position and zones on the court. These restrictions mean they have to be smart about how they move the ball down to the shooting circle. You can’t simply have players running up and down to the hoop, you need to be able to utilise every player across the court to work the ball in, get the goal and seal the victory.
"Netball's much more considered and thoughtful... rather than up-and-down blood and bluster." Suzi Williams
5. There’s no ‘I’ in team
"You only need one Michael Jordan to win basketball games. You need all seven for netball." Clare Heasly
Netball’s more of a team sport, you don’t get superstars in one position, you have to have a whole team to win the ball.
The netball court is a ball-hog-free-zone. It’s a true team sport, which requires players to back each other up and utilise the whole squad. Essentially, netball = #squadgoals.