Sharelle McMahon and Natalie Medhurst are fantastic all-round netball shooters. They’re both fast, extremely agile, have quick hands, can jump high, fake pass, use a variety of moves and shoot accurately. They’re also brilliant at sticking tight on their defender and putting extreme pressure on the opposition down the court.
To be a great all-round netball shooter and real asset to your team you must learn how to defend. To help your team you need to be a real pest for the opposition.
Working as a team, full court defence is the best way to put pressure on the opposition. This means that all 7 of you on the court have all your players covered. All 7 of you are relentlessly attempting to intercept each pass. You persistently put hands-over pressure on the person with the ball.
From personal experience it is much easier to score a goal if the ball is worked down the court in 3 or 4 passes. Making the defenders and mid-court work hard to bring the ball down the court forces that team to have patience and you’ll find more often than not that this forces an error whether it’s a spilled ball, bad pass, or held ball. If the opposition has the ball and you’re a goal shooter or goal attack your job is the same as everyone else’s in the team – you MUST stick to your GK or GD and work extremely hard to get the ball back. Here are some little tips to help:
Learn how far 3 feet is. The second your player receives a pass, jump back 3 feet and immediately put your hands up to pressure the next pass. Once your opposition player has passed the ball, step forward and try to block their next drive.
Talk it up – lots of talk and shouting directions to your fellow team-mates is helpful (i.e. If your player is driving to the left and you can’t reach the pass you can yell at a team-mate to run there instead). Talk also serves to distract and add more pressure to the opposition too.
If you’re a GA you must defend both two thirds… no slacking off in the goal third! If it’s the opposition’s centre pass make sure you defend your GD tight.
Learn to switch from attacking mode to defensive mode quickly. The second you throw a bad pass you must recover and work quickly to get the ball back/shut down the opposition play.
Fitness counts! It takes a high level of fitness to constantly hound your opposition player.
Note: Your style of defence may vary, depending on whether your coach sets a zone defence down the court, or strictly 1-on-1 defence.
Focusing on getting the ball back helps with netball shooting confidence. If you miss a shot,you’re your heart into winning the ball back. This prevents your mind ticking over and worrying about the missed shot. Work on your defence – there’s nothing better than watching a shooter grab an intercept!