(10-23-22) Netball has been in the news lately from Australia, not in a positive way, but it has made many sports fans aware of its very close relationship with basketball and how the misinterpretation of the rules came about to create another game.
Sky Australia – You Tube Video
Netball Australia loses $15 million-dollar sponsorship
History of Netball – courtesy of World Netball
In 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts a 30-year-old Canadian immigrant to the USA, James Naismith, was ordered to invent an indoor game for high-spirited young men at the School for Christian Workers (later the YMCA).
Most games ended with with a large number of injuries. So Naismith created a game called ‘basketball’ where a ball had to be lobbed into a high peach basket (his reasoning being that if a ball had to dropped into the “goal”, it couldn’t be thrown at breakneck speed).
Basketball was born, with the original game featuring nine players – three forwards, three centers and three guards – because Naismith had 18 youths to keep amused.
Women’s indoor basketball began exactly two days later when female teachers were captivated by the game but it wasn’t until 1895 that the current game of Netball was well and truly shaped. When Clara Baer, a sports teacher in New Orleans, wrote to Naismith asking for a copy of the rules, the subsequent rules package contained a drawing of the court with lines penciled across it, simply to show the areas various players could best patrol.
But Baer misinterpreted the lines and thought players couldn’t leave those areas. In 1899 her mistake was ratified into the rules of women’s basketball as zones. That would lead to what we see now in Netball.
Netball Rules (detailed)
The 5 BASIC Rules of Netball Regulations
- You cannot travel with the ball.
- You cannot snatch or hit the ball out of a player’s hands. …
- You must stand 3 feet away from the person with the ball (while defending).
- You cannot hold the ball for more than 3 seconds.
Constellation Cup New Zealand v Australia Game 4 2022 | Highlights | Kayo Sports – You Tube Video
With high school basketball starting it is interesting to see how popular netball is around the world. It even had a small impact on girls basketball in the US –
D Van Blarcom – You Tube Video –
Iowa Girls Basketball History of 6 on 6 part 1
Smith College, a school for women in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1899 Senda Berenson decided to create her own version of the game for her female students.
Her version of the game was very different from Naismith’s.
In addition to the original 13 rules, here are some of the highlights of Berenson’s original rules. Notice how her basketball regulations try to maintain the “femininity” of the players by designing a game that wouldn’t be too stressful on the “frail” female body.
- She divided the basketball court into 3 sections, and players were confined to their assigned section. Players in the third of the court closest to the basket were the shooters. The players in the middle third were the passers who would help move the ball from one end of the basketball court to the other. Those in the section farthest from the goal were the defensive players and rebounders.
- Stealing the ball from an opponent was illegal because such behavior was entirely too “masculine.”
- Every scored basket was followed by a jump ball at center court.
- There was a 3-dribble limit, and a player could only hold the ball for 3 seconds. (This was an attempt to speed up a very slow-moving game.)
- Since organized games between teams from different schools created too much competitiveness for girls, intramural contests were set up between teams of students from the same school. And to guard against rivalry of any kind, the team rosters were constantly changed.
Girls Six-on-Six Basketball in Iowa
A unique game once graced the basketball courts of Iowa’s high schools. It was played by ordinary girls, some of whom became extraordinary athletes. It captured the hearts of an entire state. The game was girls’ six-on-six basketball, and it was experienced in Iowa like nowhere else in the country. Six-on-six basketball became one of the most acclaimed sports in Iowa history-proving it was more than okay to “play like a girl.”
Basketball has been around since 1891. Invented for boys by Dr. James Naismith at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, it was quickly adapted for girls. Young women were playing the game in Iowa by the early 1900s. Rules evolved and in 1934, girls started playing a two-court, six-on-six game that put three forwards and three guards on each side of a center line neither were allowed to cross.
- Players were allowed two dribbles.
- No tieups outside of the lane.
- The court was split in half, like a pair of three-on-three games.
- No crossing the center-court line. After made baskets, a referee would bring the ball up the floor and inbound it to a forward at midcourt.
Some courts were not regulation size and were so small the circles on the floor overlapped. The out-of-bounds area was where the crowd sat and the were smack up against the wall, making it very difficult and dangerous for players to drive to the basket. For example in the 1950s, Tingley’s basketball squad often was referred to as the “Tingley tourists” because it’s basketball floor was so tiny the team never played a “home” game at home. Instead, it always played on the opposing team’s floor.
Why not the full-court, five-player game the boys played? Early on, the boys’ game was considered just too strenuous for the so-called “weaker sex.”
In 1993, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) voted to end six-on-six, officially switching to the more common five-on-five game.
6 on 6 Iowa girls basketball song, ‘We Got Spirit’ by Bob Cook – 1979 March – KCCI TV8 – You Tube Video
To be fair Oklahoma claims that the 6-on-6 game was something they were responsible for creating, like Iowa in 1995 it ended..
Although Netball has its roots in the US, not many Americans are familiar with it, but thanks to technology it is easy to stream or watch highlights. The Sports World has turned it into a game that is watched by full gyms.
Two American women made all of this happen in the 1890’s… Senda Berenson in Massachusetts and Clara Baer from New Orleans…not as well known as Naismith but just as important.