Big changes have come for the exciting sport of netball with the International Netball Federation launching updated rules for the game. The most noticeable change: the play is going to be so much faster. With the now accelerated pace, fans really need to keep their eyes peeled to see all the action.

So what have changed so far?

Fans will no longer be experiencing a lull in the game due to two-minute injury time-outs. The netball international governing body has decided that injury time-outs have been exploited greatly for the purpose of controlling the tempo of the game. Now, injured players just have 30 seconds for a time-out and must get out of the court so the game can proceed right away.

New netball rules also allow players to take a penalty without having to wait for the offender to be out of play. Also, the Centre no longer has to have both feet wholly within the centre circle prior a centre pass. These new rules create fluidity for the game because they prompt all players on the court to think and act quickly on the best strategy for the moment – yet another aspect that is expected to speed things up and keep the excitement high.

The crowd favourite move called the “defensive lift,” however, is already banned. This is a downer for a lot of netball fans who see this move as a spectacular display of athleticism and one of the best demonstrations of instinctive teamwork. The International Netball Federation declares deflecting a shot once the ball is already on a downward trajectory toward the ring a big no-no.

Another element the new netball rules scrapped is the habitual whistle blowing. Many are actually unhappy with umpires producing that shrill whistle sound every time a goal is made or when the ball goes out. This rule doesn’t impact the game much but it definitely will make matches much easier to observe in a way.

Other changes to note are “sanctions” replacing “penalties” as the more appropriate term, and throw ins and toss ups becoming actions taken by the umpire, rather than penalties awarded.

All in all the new rules have rid the game of opportunities for dilly-dallying, which is a positive development and can be expected to draw in new fans. If your team is having a confusing time keeping track of them, do refer to the guide provided by Netball Australia, which Melbourne Social Netball can provide. The new season is about to start – matches are already lined up at Riverside Golf and Tennis Centre, Richmond Recreation Centre, Ryan’s Reserve, Flagstaff Gardens and Melbourne High School – so join a team, register your team or find out more about season details today!

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