In Netball, shooting is arguably the most important aspect of the game. Without it, all netball games would end as 0-0 ties, so let’s agree that it is, to some degree, essential to the functioning of the sport.
Only those players that are allowed to stand in their attacking goal circle may attempt to score (see our summary of netball positions – this means only the Goal Scorer (GS) and Goal Attack (GA). Consequently, it’s important that your very best shooters are placed in these positions.
Once the shooter gets the ball inside the goal circle, only three seconds is allowed for a shot, so there’s little time to line up the shot and make it. The procedure for shooting may sound easy, but under the pressures imposed by a real game it is not, and only lots of practice can make the technique appear second nature.
The Technique – Preparation
Firstly, get the goalpost in your line of sight. If there is an opposing player between you and the net, ignore them – if you throw the ball properly then there’s very little chance that they will be able to intercept it (unless they are considerably taller than you!).
Put your feet in a position that gives you the best combination of balance and height possible; you might find that having them roughly shoulder length apart is the best position.
The holding of the ball is important. Balancing it on the fingertips of your dominant hand and steadying it with your other is the way to begin. The spring of the fingertips give the control of the ball’s spin, while the steadying hand is your main aiming tool: make sure it’s pointing the ball into the net!
The Technique – Squat
Now you need to do some aerobics. Physics tells us that all the power for your shot comes from the floor, and you’re going to need to harness that power in the most effective way in order to transfer it into a flying ball.
Bend your knees and squat down with your back straight and your head up – you don’t need to go all the way down, but you’ll need to experiment to discover how much of a squat you need to get the required power. All the while, your hands should stay in the same position, and your eyes should be concentrating on the ring.
When you’re ready to shoot, move your hands back slightly behind your head, and as you spring upright, move them forward and upwards. All the power from your springing knees and the moving hands needs to be transferred to the ball.
The Technique – Shoot!
Your focus should, at all times, be on the ring (and this is why everything else needs to be practised so that it become second nature) – try and concentrate on a point at the back of the ring – this will give you slightly more leeway in terms of your judged length for the shot. When your knees spring and your arms are moving forward, you should release the ball.
Spin the ball backwards by flicking your wrists on release – this makes any bounce on the ring itself a little more forgiving. The trajectory for your shot should be as steep as possible – this gives a better chance of the ball dropping through the net, and also renders any blocking in front of you largely useless – of course this is easier said than done, and you need to judge the amount of power you need to put into the shot to make this work.
End the shot with your arms straight and in the direction of the shot – follow in towards the net in case it didn’t go in – you might as well have a second chance if possible!
The key to shooting in netball is practice, practice and more practice. Did I mention you should practice some?
- Netball (Know The Game) – by All England Netball Association