November 16, 2010

Can I defend with my legs as wide as I want?

There have been some discussions in our club whether one can defend an opponent with a stance that is wider than normal. Some people have argued that it is obstruction if you, closer than 0.9 m, defend with your feet and legs wide (let’s say wider than shoulder width for the purpose of explaining). This argument is understandable from the perspective of the attacker who wants to pass a defender in order to get the ball or attain a better position. However, the argument has no support within the official rules.

Rule 16.4 (Obstruction of a player not in possession of the ball) and more specifically rule 16.4.1 states:
“A player is obstructing, if within the distance of 0.9 m (3 feet) measured on the ground from an opponent without the ball, any movements are employed by that player, whether attacking or defending, which take the arms away from the body, other than those involved in natural body balance.”

Who gets the throw-in if the umpire cannot make a decision?

Once during a game recently, one of our umpires didn't see the last player touching the ball when it went out of court at the goal line, so she couldn't decide which team should be awarded the throw-in. However, after some "persuasion" from a player she allowed herself to give it to one of the teams (for the sake of continuing play).

This happens rarely but is not the proper way to handle the situation. Rule 18.5.1 (iii) says:
"A Toss Up is taken when opposing players are involved and the Umpire is unable to determine the last player to touch the ball before it goes out of Court."
The correct decision is therefore to conduct a toss up. The better one gets as an umpire, the less often one will have to use this option...

Coaching is now allowed during stoppages

IFNA has passed a resolution regarding the change of rule 3.4.2 and rule 7.

Before, when for example there was an injured player on court, the other players could approach the sideline (but not leave the court) to receive rehydration. However, they were not allowed to receive any coaching from the bench. Since there are no "time-outs" in netball, players could fake injuries in order to receive coaching and delaying the game. So in 2007 the rule was created/modified to prevent this from happening. For some reasons, yet totally unclear for me, IFNA has changed the rule again so that coaching is now allowed.

The only information about the background I have received is from an official media release. Urvasi Naidoo, Chief Executive of IFNA said:
“This particular rule change was trialled during the ANZ Championships. Feedback received from the trial identified this as a positive experience with no negative impact on the game. Netball is constantly evolving and the performance of the best teams in the world will be enhanced by amending the rules to allow coaching during stoppages”

Still not clear enough... However, still good to know.