Netball is a ball sport played between two teams of seven players. The sport shares many similarities with basketball, having been derived from early versions of women's basketball. It developed as a distinct sport in the 1890s in England, from where it spread to other countries. Netball is popular in Commonwealth nations and is predominantly played by women.
Games are played on a rectangular court divided into thirds, with a raised goal at each short end. The object of the game is for teams to score points by passing a ball and shooting it into the opposing team's goal. Players are assigned "positions" that define their role within the team and restrict their movement on court. During general play, a player with the ball can take no more than one step before passing it, and cannot hold the ball for longer than three seconds. Goals can only be scored by the assigned shooting players, and successful shots score one point each. Netball games are 60 minutes long, divided into 15-minute quarters, at the end of which the team with the most points scored wins.
The sport is administered globally by the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA), and is reportedly played by over 20 million people in more than 70 countries. Local-level participation is widespread in Commonwealth nations, particularly in schools, although international competition and domestic leagues only receive substantial recognition in a few countries. The highest level of international netball includes the Netball World Championships, the netball event at the Commonwealth Games, and the World Netball Series.
Wikipedia [accessed 10 May 2010] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netball