What to wear when you are a player
When you start playing competitively you will need to start buying netball products and kit so your team can play in proper netball kit. You will need a set of netball bibs with the seven netball positions marked clearly to comply with the netball rule book, a netball and a pump for the netball. Team tops and skirts, shorts or skorts need to be in the same colour and you may want to go as far as specifying particular or netball knickers your team plays in. If you have access to a netball court you may need to buy netball posts. There are a number of netball kit and netball product suppliers across the country and netballpost.com will shortly list the better suppliers.
Nothing looks better than a netball team walking on to the court in smart, matching kit emblazoned with the team’s colours and name. The sense of ‘team’ often helps players reach their peak performance and can support pre-match confidence.
More established teams will often denote the name of the player on their netball tops resulting in a healthy incentive to secure a place on the team place.
As Trinny and Susannah say “you need to wear what suits your body shape”.
In netball terms this means:
A good grip on the soles of your trainers is important. Do not wear worn out or flimsy trainers as they could result in an injury. As netball is such a fast moving game with the rule that you initially ground your landing foot, if your trainers have little grip you can either risk loosing or bruising your toe nails or damaging your ankles and/or feet.
Training shoes need to be laced tightly and umpires should watch for players trying to be ‘cool’ and play with their laces undone. Umpires can stop games to ensure laces are fastened. A double bow is the most logically way to ensure trainers stay fastened to protect your feet and ankles.
If anyone visiting this site has played netball not wearing socks, they may remember the painful blistered and sore feet that result. Ask any experienced player and they will tell you that two pairs of socks will prevent foot damage and the painful shin splits that can result from insufficient foot padding. You can combine sports ankle socks and sports foot-covering socks, as you prefer.
Ankle and knee strapping?
Netball is a game requiring the skill to land from a height and adhere to the footwork rules; the strain on a player’s ankle and knees is not to be underestimated over the longer term. Many players strap their ankles to lessen damage and protect knees with braces. As long as the strapping is ‘smooth’, both ankle and knee strapping is allowed and in some cases advisable.
Skirts or shorts or dresses?
Depending on your own preference and the requirements of your team you often can wear what is appropriate for your team. Male and mixed teams tend to favour sports shorts, while ladies regional club teams may insist upon a netball skirt in club colours.
Remember that under a netball skirt it is important to maintain a sense of decorum. Umpires have sent players off for entering a court without their modesty adequately covered! Many teams who rotate players collect in their skirts after each game and hand them out before each new game.
The modern netball kit suppliers are providing one piece dresses made from Lycra, which aids movement and flexibility. Position bibs are held in place by Velcro, which allows the team to change positions as required. Lycra dresses tend to be used by the more established teams, as each player will own their own correct size dress.
If shorts or skirt are your team’s choice an appropriate top is required. Washable fabric without zips, pockets or lacing is required. As netball is a fast moving aerobic sport, cotton based or a ‘breathing’ fabric is advisable.
Most netball goods suppliers will sell bibs to show the 7 positions in the colour of your choice. The bibs will come in different sizes to fit all enabling players to move about when playing.
Netballpost.com has seen fabulous homemade bibs on many teams, which may reflect the name of the team, league or tournament. This is fine as long as the positions can be seen and the bibs are not flapping about.
It is advisable to collect in the bibs after each game.
Jewellery, nails and hair?
No is the answer. No watches, rings, bracelets, sharp hair clips, slides or jewllery piercings are ever allowed. Even wedding bands need to be removed, simply taping the ring will not be allowed. The umpires will generally check the length of team fingernails, the guide to nails is – with hands reversed the nails cannot be seen above the players fingers. But remember, last minute nail cutting may not be enough to secure entry to the court as rough edges remain.
It is the players’ responsibility to ensure their nails are match ready or you may be excluded from playing to prevent injury.
As an umpire you need to look different from the players. In an ideal world you should wear white. However if you are playing at a tournament and then need to umpire this may not be practical. We advise talking a change of clothes if this is the case.
Umpires need either running shoes (as you are less aerial than the players) or netball training shoes.
You will need a bag to hold your umpiring ‘kit’. Buy yourself a small bag that you can fit the following into:
- Rule book – take it to every match and if you have time, read through the rules before you arrive at the court
- Whistle x 2 – you may prefer a finger whistle or a whistle on a necklace
- Pencil x 2 – just in case your lead snaps!
- Pencil sharpener
- Score pad – a hand held pad that you can draw the lines on yourself. Its also worth buying a water proof score pad if you umpire outdoors – save it for rainy days as the waterproof version can prove quite expensive to use all the time.
- Timer – at the end of the match turn your battery around to preserve the energy, this also stops it being turned on by accident.
- Spare timer battery
- Nail clippers and nail file – Although it is your responsibility to check players do not have long nails it’s not your responsibility to provide the equipment to cut them. However, it does help to have them on hand in order to get a game started on time.
- Hair band x 2 – for a couple of reasons; firstly if you have a scorer you can pass the band from hand to hand to denote whose centre pass it is. Secondly in case one of the players needs to tie their hair back although it’s not the umpire’s responsibility, it does help to get the game started on time.
You can buy waterproof clothing from outdoor pursuits shops. Make sure they are lightweight and pack away into a small bag. One of the more not enjoyable aspects of umpiring is getting wet at the beginning of a match and having to continue for anything up an hour both cold and wet! In cold weather wear layers of clothing that you can remove, or add to as required.
You will need a whistle and a comfortable tracksuit or netball kit. You may surprise yourself how much you move around as a coach and demonstrate moves for the players; therefore good quality training shoes are a must.