The Netball Position Guide

Once you’ve taken the quiz on which netball position suits your personality, it’s time to read our guide to all the positions!

One of the questions people often ask when they start playing netball is which position they should play. There’s no right or wrong answer and it’s never too late to change. If you’re new to netball or just getting back in to it after a long break, it’s a good idea to try them all out and see which one you like best.

Learning new skills

I’ve listed some of the basic skills for each position, but if you haven’t played before then it’s best to get some proper netball coaching. There are loads of fantastic coaches at England Netball’s Back to Netball sessions across London, or look for a netball club to join if you really want to take it seriously and improve.

Improving your performance

Often people are naturally disposed to playing a certain netball position based on speed, height etc. but that doesn’t mean you can’t play somewhere else if you want to – it’ll just require more hard work. You can improve on every area of your performance by having coaching, building up experience and playing in a smarter way as well as through good netball fitness and conditioning.


The Netball Position Guide


Goal Shooter

England Netball's Jo Harten as GS

England Netball’s Jo Harten as GS. Credit: Murray Wilkinson (NWC2015 Media)

As GS, your job is to be the main goal scorer. Usually the taller of the two shooters, you should stay in the circle and only run out as a last option. Great GSs are able to get free of defenders in tight spaces, often needing to lunge or jump to catch the ball one-handed.

Great if:

  • you’re the tallest one on the team
  • you’re cool with getting up close and personal with the GK
  • you can stay calm and keep shooting under pressure

Basic skills:

  • shooting close to the net
  • getting free from the GK to receive the ball
  • jumping for potential rebounds after you or the GA have taken a shot

Ways to improve:

Read the Guardian’s excellent GS position guide and have a look at this video of Jo Harten demonstrating different shooting techniques.


Goal Attack

Former England Netball captain Pam Cookey as GA

Former England Netball captain Pam Cookey
©2013 Kieran McManus

The GA is usually one of the playmakers on court, being able to shoot and bring the ball through centre court. GAs all play very differently, but the best ones are great at shaking off their defender and making clever, well-timed drives into the circle.

Great if:

  • you can shoot from further away
  • you’re athletic enough to dodge and outrun a defender
  • you’re good at getting free at the centre pass

Basic skills:

  • shooting
  • receiving the centre pass
  • jumping for rebounds after you or the GS have taken a shot

Ways to improve:

Have a look at this great article by Sky Sports and Pam Cookey on how to play Goal Attack (make sure you watch the video with Pam and Tamsin Greenway) or this video about finding space.


Wing Attack

England Netball's Sacha Corbin playing WA

England Netball’s Sacha Corbin. Photo credit: Javier Garcia

Great Wing Attacks are creative and have great footwork, allowing them to shake off a defender. They usually have some of the best passing skills of the team and are able to put accurate and varied feeds into the circle.

Great if:

  • you’re great at passing
  • you’re quick enough to get free of a defender
  • you have good awareness, creativity and timing

Basic skills:

  • receiving the centre pass
  • putting strong passes into the shooting circle
  • getting free of the WD

Ways to improve:

Read this excellent Guardian article on how to be a great WA and watch this video on feeding the circle.



England Netball's Sara Bayman as C

England Netball’s Sara Bayman. Photo credit: Paul Seiser/PA

The C is the engine of the team and carries the ball between both ends of the court. They have to have great stamina and skill in attack and defence, as well as having great spatial awareness and timing so as not to congest any part of the court.

Great if:

  • you’re a good long-distance runner
  • you like attacking and defending
  • you’re great at throwing and catching on the run

Basic skills:

  • always being available for the ball
  • taking the centre pass
  • working around the circle edge with the WA

Ways to improve:

Build up your cardio and watch this C position guide.


Wing Defence

England Netball's Serena Guthrie as WD

England Netball’s Serena Guthrie. Picture credit: England Netball

The WD is the centre court’s main defender. They help the two circle defenders pressure the other team’s attack as well as being the main route to link the ball from the defensive third into attack if there’s a turnover. Great WDs are also good at reading the other team’s passes and going for flying intercepts when there’s an opportunity.

Great if:

  • you’re good at intercepting the ball
  • you like playing centre court and defence

Basic skills:

  • defending the WA at the centre pass
  • defending the WA on the edge of the circle
  • receiving back line passes from the GK

Ways to improve:

Watch this video about blocking players on the move or watch this WD position guide.


Goal Defence

England Netball's Sonia Mkoloma. Picture credit: England Netball

England Netball’s Sonia Mkoloma. Picture credit: England Netball

The Goal Defence is one half of the circle defence team and needs to be able to defend in the mid-court and in the circle. Like the GA, they need to be athletic since they’re a key link between the defence and attack in the event of a turnover.

Great if:

  • you can keep up with a speedy goal attack and jump for intercepts
  • you like playing in the centre court and in the circle

Basic skills:

  • defending the GA in mid-court
  • pressuring the GA when they shoot by leaning towards the ball from three feet away
  • linking the ball from defence to attack when there’s a turnover

Ways to improve

Have a look at this Goal Defence position guide, Julie Corletto’s video on man marking and this guide to the basics of defence.


Goal Keeper

England Netball's Geva Mentor. Picture credit: Dominion Post

England Netball’s Geva Mentor. Picture credit: Dominion Post

The Goal Keeper is the last line of defence. They’re usually matched up against the opposition’s best (and tallest) shooter and need to be able to apply physical and mental pressure in a small space. The GK should also shout instructions to the GD and WD, since they have a clear view of the play down the court.

Great if:

  • you’re mentally tough enough to compete one-on-one with the GS in a small space
  • you’re good at pressuring passes and shots

Basic skills:

  • pressuring the GS when they shoot by leaning towards the ball from three feet away
  • jumping or lunging for intercepts in the circle
  • never leaving the GS undefended (resisting the urge to run out of the circle)

Ways to improve

Watch this video on working around the GS, this guide to defending the shot or these clips of total #defencegoals.


Have any top tips for your position? Get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or via email.