For roughly 13 years of my childhood, every Saturday was spent on a netball court, ringing with the sound of whistles and ‘here if you need!’. My teammates became beacons of hope on the hard asphalt court that separated us from victory or crushing loss.
When I was 18, I coached a team of grade 7s and learned the wrath that is a netball parent scorned. I then went to the dark side… umpiring. Don’t judge me, I didn’t last long… the stress of following through after a ‘held ball’ call, when an entire team (and their parents) disagree, is too intense for me.
Since then I’ve tried mixed, indoor, and night netball, and one thing I’ve found is that no matter where you lace up, the players are all the same. Here’s my breakdown of who’s who on the netball courts.
The natural leader of the team, most multi-tasking Centres feel they are better, fitter and more good looking than the rest of the team. But they’d never actually say that.... They like being centre of attention and wielding their power, so don’t ever forget to invite them to a party. You might just find you don’t touch the ball for the rest of the season.
Most likely to say: “Come on, guys! Am I the only one who wants to win today?!”
Also known as the ‘Centre-in-waiting’, Wing Attacks are like the quarterback jocks of the team. They feel that the future of the next centre throw lies in their hands (“Who else is there… really?”) and they take that responsibility seriously, if not a little cockily. They are little balls of energy, who are put out when the ball isn’t thrown to them, especially as they think they would do a better job than the current Centre anyway…
Most likely to say: “Don’t worry, I’ll turn this game around”
Sticking to the Wing Attack like a bad Facebook stalker, Wing Defense is usually the quietest player on court (apart from Goal Keeper). They know they can run in for the centre ball, but they also know they’ll be ignored 90% of the time. That insecurity is compounded by the knowledge that down a player, the team will cut WD like halftime oranges. Despite this, WDs tend to be quiet achievers, who are inevitably the most caring members of the team
Most likely to say: “Behind, um…Here if you need?”
The packhorse of the team, every Goal Attack thinks they do the bulk of the work on court. Need to take the ball from centre third to goal third? Got it. Need to shoot a goal or grab a rebound? Easy. Passive aggressive by nature, Goal Attacks don’t parade their success like other positions (WA, we are talking to you), they are just happy the team won… even if no one understands how they single handedly won it!
Most likely to say: “Great team effort everyone… I can’t take the credit” *grrr*
With military precision, Goal Defense will intimidate, squash and hassle the opposition. They are usually the tallest on the team and are easily rattled if the other team’s GA is taller or faster than them. Their version of the three-foot rule is inevitably different to the umpire’s, and they see fouls as a badge of honor. GDs make loyal friends, but annoy them and you’ll get the cold shoulder… for a long time.
Most likely to say: “Whaaaat?! That was three feet!”
A little like Frodo in Lord of The Rings, Goal Shooters are the chosen ones and must be protected at all costs. Don’t be fooled by their small talk between goals, they may seem sweet but they will cut you down as soon as they get the ball. They are calm, confident people, who don’t need to try to make friends – after they shoot 25 goals they know they’ll be popular. It’s hard not to love a Goal Shooter, because deep inside, you kind of want to be like them.
Most likely to say: [swoosh, pony tail swing]
The most misunderstood player of the team, Goal Keepers don’t think anyone realises how hard their position is. Sure, they are only defending an area as big as a café table, but there are a surprising number of places to hide. Silently blamed when their team is losing, GKs know that they are the last defense and they stealthily intimidate the chatty GS until they can pounce on the ball. They are the quietest of players but are the kind of people you can call at 3am to help a gal out.
Most likely to say: "What? I didn't touch her!"