Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 – South Africa vs. Uganda
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Which netball position should you play?

Looking to find your true calling on the court, or maybe just change up your game? We’ll help point you in the right direction.
Written by Sacha Shipway
5 min readPublished on
Are you a superstar shooter, masterful mid-courter or dogged defender? If you don’t know your calling on the court yet, we’re here to break it down for you. And even if you think you’ve got your netball position nailed, maybe you’ll be inspired to put on a different bib the next time you play.


Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 – South Africa vs. Uganda
Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 – South Africa vs. Uganda

Goal Keeper, Goal Defence

Defenders are dominant, dogged and determined. Working in the circle isn’t for the fainthearted because it’s a battle of the wills under the post, where quick reactions are essential. You’ll need to keep on your toes and stay alert to collect rebounds and intercept passes. If you can master the roll, you’re onto a winner. It’s a great move to get around shooters by using the outside arm to take interceptions without being called for contact. As well as the roll, you’ll be doing a lot of super-stretchy leaning to mark any shots taken.
  • GK: the main defender and likely to be one of the tallest players on the court. Responsible for picking off the most rebounds and anticipating feeds into the shooters. Allowed only in the defending third.
  • GD: works in tandem with the GK to read the ball and react quickly to create turnovers. You need to defend the GA on the centre-pass and be available as back up for the attackers on the third line. Allowed in the centre and defending third.
Secret to success: communicating with your defending partner. If the GK and GD can work together seamlessly, they can defend the shooters more efficiently. Being smart with your work-rate involves covering the nearest attacker rather than just the opposing position, therefore increasing the likelihood of making a turnover.


Players must have speed, dynamism and agility to play in the midcourt
Players must have speed, dynamism and agility to play in the midcourt

Wing Defence, Centre, Wing Attack

You might not be the tallest player on the court, but you’ve got speed, dynamism and agility to rival those long-legged defenders and shooters. As a ‘middie’, you’re the pocket-rocket of the team, the ‘play-maker’ who is responsible for ensuring your shooters get the ball and score those all-important goals. You’ll shout ‘back if you need’ more times than you can remember and have pin-point accuracy. The responsibilities don’t stop there; when your opposing team have possession, your pressure on the ball should make it easier for the defenders on your own team to pick off interceptions and therefore prevent goals.
  • WD: the main defender of the centre-court, responsible for defending the centre pass and acting as back-up for attackers on the third-line and centre-pass. Allowed in the centre third and defending third but not in the shooting circle.
  • C: responsible for taking the centre pass, working the ball into the shooting circle and defending down the court. Allowed everywhere on court except the shooting circles.
  • WA: quick off the mark and likely to receive the most centre-passes. You’ll need the ability to get free from your defender and feed into the shooters. Allowed in the centre and attacking third but not the shooting circle.
Secret to success: landing on the edge of the circle. Make a strong run and receive the ball on the edge of the shooting circle to ensure a clean feed into your shooters. It’s much more difficult for your defenders to mark the ball when you claim this space. As a WD, preventing your WA (or C) from getting on the edge of the circle is extremely effective.


Goal Attack, Goal Shooter

Helen Housby zeroing in on the net
Helen Housby zeroing in on the net
The shooting duo are responsible for netting those all-important goals and remaining calm under pressure. They often get passed difficult balls so if you’ve got hands like glue, you’re one step ahead of the rest. The shooters work together to balance the circle and create safe places for the feeders to pass the ball. It’s physical in the circle, so you’ll need to be able to claim your space and land strong.
  • GA: A high work-rate and the ability to sneak into pockets of space in the shooting circle are essential. You must be able to work in tandem with the mid-courters to receive the centre pass and work the ball into the shooting circle. Taking the ball on the run is a plus. Allowed in the centre and attacking circle.
  • GS: When every player looks down the court to pass, they’ll see the shooter as the pillar in the shooting circle. You’re able to hold and claim space, net the most goals and be able to rebound any missed attempts. Allowed only in the attacking third.
Secret to success: scoring goals. It’s pretty simple. Accuracy under the post is everything for shooters.
Many international players begin playing at one end of the court and are now famous for their work at the other. So next time you’re playing, why not suggest ‘versatility netball’, where everyone swaps into a new position every quarter. It’s the best way to figure out whether you have a hidden talent somewhere else on the court.