Tips for effective marking in netball.
Effective marking is a crucial skill in netball, whether you’re playing as a defender or marking an opponent in another position.
Maintain a Low Defensive Stance:
Bend your knees and stay low in a balanced defensive stance. This allows you to move quickly and react to your opponent’s movements.
Maintain Arm’s Length Distance:
Stand close enough to your opponent to apply pressure but maintain a legal arm’s length distance. Avoid making physical contact, as this can result in ‘obstruction’.
Observe Your Opponent:
Pay close attention to your opponent’s body language, movements, and passes. Anticipate their actions by reading their cues and positioning yourself accordingly.
Use Peripheral Vision:
Keep your eyes on the ball and your opponent’s movements simultaneously. This helps you maintain awareness of the entire court and react quickly to changes in play. It helps to position yourself side-on to your opponent, keeping one eye on them, and one eye on the rest of the court.
Be agile and use active footwork to mirror your opponent’s movements. Shuffle sideways, pivot, and adjust your positioning to stay with them.
Block Passing Lanes:
Position your arms and hands to block passing lanes and obstruct your opponent’s vision. Be ready to intercept passes or deflect the ball.
Pressure the Pass:
Apply pressure on your opponent when they are in possession of the ball. Get close to them, making it difficult for them to pass or make accurate shots. Ensure you are 3 foot from your opponent before you raise your arms to defend the ball. Stretch your arms to mark the ball, this will make it hard for your player to make a pass, and could force them to concede a time penalty!
React to Movements:
React quickly to your opponent’s movements. If they change direction or make a sudden move, mirror their actions to stay with them.
Challenge the Shot:
When your opponent attempts a pass or shot, jump and use your arms to challenge it! This can disrupt their vision and affect the accuracy. Always keep your arms up ready for the re-bound if you’re defending the net!
Observe Your Opponent:
Familiarise yourself with your opponent’s strengths, weaknesses, and playing style as the match plays. Use this information to adapt your marking strategy and exploit their vulnerabilities. Different opponents may require different marking approaches, for example – you may notice that your opponent likes to throw long balls, so communicate this information to the rest of your team to ensure that they are expecting this type of play and can mark accordingly.
Remember that effective netball marking techniques is a combination of physical skills, anticipation, and tactical awareness. By practicing these techniques and staying disciplined in your approach, you can become a more effective at marking in Netball.