Tips for defenders during back-line passes.
Defenders play a crucial role in transitioning the ball from the backline to the attackers in netball. Here are some tips for defenders on how to move the ball down the court effectively after a backline pass:
Secure the Ball:
As a defender, you may have limited time and space near the backline. Make quick decisions about where to pass and receive the ball to start the attack swiftly. Don’t always use the same type of pass. Mix up your passes with overhead passes, chest passes, and bounce passes to keep your opponents guessing. After a backline pass, the first priority is to secure the ball. Catch it cleanly and ensure that you have a firm grip on it before making any moves.
Try not to pass across the D:
Try to pass to players without passing across the D. The attacking players will try to turn the ball over to create a scoring opportunity for themselves, so they will be on the look out for an interception. Use your C or WD, who are able to hold position around the D, or the GD if they get into enough space to pass comfortably. Pass through the D to the GD only if absolutely necessary!
Assess your options and maintain control:
Quickly assess your passing options up the court. Look for open teammates who are well-positioned to receive the ball and advance it further. Look for your midcourt players or attacking players who are in good positions to receive the ball. While speed is important, control is paramount. Avoid hurried or inaccurate passes. Focus on making precise and well-timed passes to avoid turnovers and ensure complete accuracy. Aim to pass the ball directly to your teammate’s hands, only throw overhead passes if you are confident in your throwing skills and your teammates ability to catch them!
Short sharp passes:
Utilise short, sharp passes to maintain possession and advance the ball. There is no ‘need’ to pass long balls to your attackers all the time, as this can leave you open to interceptions. Quick, accurate passes are less likely to be intercepted by the opposing team. Keeping possession is key! Bounce passes can be effective for getting the ball past defenders who are marking closely. Bounce the ball low and hard to your teammate, making it more challenging for the defender to intercept.
Here if you need:
Use clear and concise verbal communication to signal your intention to pass. Call out the name of the player you intend to pass to, so they are aware and ready to receive the ball. Players receiving the ball should also use verbal communication to indicate they are an option too! Make sure to get free of your opponent so you are able to receive a ball without any interceptions.
Creating Space & Keep Moving:
Use your skills to create space for yourself to receive a return pass. Quick pivots and changes of direction can help you shake off your opponent and create passing lanes. After receiving and passing the ball, find another space and be ready to help your team out if they need to pass back to you.
Avoid forced passes:
Avoid forcing the ball into heavily defended areas. If there are no clear passing options, consider passing back to a teammate in a more secure position. When you aren’t in possession of the ball, always find a space to be ready to receive a pass.
Remember that backline passes are a critical part of transitioning from defence to attack in netball. By practicing these tips and perfecting your passing skills, you’ll become a more valuable defender who can initiate successful attacking plays for your team.