A Short History of Netball

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Netball was developed as a sport suitable for women in the last years of the 18th century in the USA. In those days, morale and codes of conduct were very different from the free attitude of modern days.

Women in those days used to experience a lot of resistance if they wanted to play a sport that public opinion considered a male sport not appropriate for maintaining female decorum. For the same reason, netball kits had to be designed that suited the conservative mentality of the era.

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Netball Began With Basketball

In 1891, in Springfield, Massachusetts, 30-year-old Canadian immigrant was given the task to invent an indoor game for young members of what later would become the YMCA.

The first games he invented all ended with lots of injuries for the players. They were a boisterous and driven lot, and he decided that the best choice would be to lob the ball into a basket instead of anything else, since the high speed passes the players made were what caused the injuries.

After he had set and defined the rules, it took less than a year before a women’s version of the game was developed. However, almost immediately afterwards, netball was invented. Since this new version of the original game of basketball was less strenuous on the physique and considered to be a more proper way for women to behave, netball quickly became a popular sport not only in the USA, but in Europe as well.

By the 1920’s national netball organisations started to be formed, along with official leagues and competitions.

As the popularity of netball grew, it gained considerable traction in Australia and New Zealand. Fun fact: Netball is still called women’s basketball in both countries, though the word netball was formally accepted in 1970.

Netball Unified Rules

It was around 1956 that the first efforts were made to standardise the rules on a global level. This culminated in 1960 with the gathering of the leading netball countries and accepting a unified set of rules.

After that, 1963 saw the first even World Netball Championship in Eastbourne, England. Since then, a world tournament has been organised practically every four years.

Netball These Days

These days, netball is no longer considered a sport exclusively for women. Men enjoy the game just the same as women in some countries, and every weekend you can see teams flashing across the courts in their netball kits.

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