As Melbourne Social Netball gears up for its first netball tournament on October 9, the different teams participating in its matches are being schooled in the new rules implemented by the International Netball Federation at the beginning of the year.

These modifications aim to make the game more enjoyable for the players and more thrilling for spectators. These rules are also supposed to help the game evolve. It also aims to better cater to netball’s ever-growing popularity as well as attract more spectators and attention from the media.

It’s natural to feel apprehensive. Things might also get confusing in the beginning, which is why it’s important to go over the new rules to have an idea of what to expect. What are some of the changes that you will be seeing?

  • Less action for the umpires’ whistles – There’s no longer any need to signal goals scored or balls gone off-court. Understandably, this might take some getting used to.
  • Tighter management of injury time – Umpires will allow players who call time to deal with an injury to leave the court and have a substitute sent in for only 30 seconds, although the coach can ask for more time if it’s necessary.
  • One foot inside the centre circle – For those who play centre, one foot in the centre circle will do to restart the game, but two feet will still be allowed in case it’s preferred.
  • Faster penalties – The offence team no longer have to wait for the infringing player to position herself on their side, giving them an advantage in placing themselves in a better position. Incidentally, penalties or free passes are now called sanctions.
  • No goal tending – GKs and GDs can no longer deflect the ball once it’s on a downward flight into the net. No more putting a hand through the hoop even if this usually draws enthusiastic cheers.
  • Clearer grading system – Players are better disciplined with a grading system that allow for warnings and cautions before they are suspended from the game.

These are just some of the most obvious changes that will be seen in court, but the list of new rules is actually much longer. If you want to see them in application, drop by the Riverside Golf and Tennis Centre’s netball courts and note the difference in Melbourne Social Netball’s matches. Everybody will hopefully be used to them come October and the much-awaited netball tournament.

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