sports

The 6 types of teammate every netball player will recognise.

When it comes to netball, there are few things that rarely change.

I’ve played netball most of my life. I am in no way a professional, but I do like to think I know a thing or two about how to get the ball from end of the court and into that goal ring pretty damn well.

The most surprising thing I’ve learnt over the last 15 years however, would be how netball, or sport in general, can bring out a completely different side in people.

I’ve played with school teams, club teams, social and mix teams but nothing surprises me more than seeing the mute from accounting suddenly squealing at the top of their lungs “MEE! I’M FREEE!” whilst everyone looks around at each other thinking, “where the hell did that come from?”

Over the years, my team mates have come and gone and the rules may have slightly changed, but there are several things that have never differed when it comes to a friendly game of netball.

The umpire always — and I repeat, ALWAYS — thinks they are umpiring a bloody Olympic match. It doesn’t matter if it’s an under 8s game or our State representatives, if they call stepping, and you haven’t stepped, you better be prepared to cop it or they’ll use their “power” to red card you off court.

And let’s just say, the definition of what actually is ‘three feet’ is hugely varied among certain umpires.

An umpires definition of three feet is every different to my definition of three feet. Image via iStock.

There will always be parents. Even into my twenties, without a doubt at every match there is a “supportive” parent standing on the sideline hovering over the coach, umpires and any unsuspecting players to ensure their child, who they usually refer to as ‘God’ is given the right position and is treated fairly at all times.

This same type of parent has no issue ensuring all other players and spectators know that their child ‘God’ NEVER makes mistakes. If the ball happens to somehow rebound off the ring, well, that’s because “UMPIRE, IF YOU THINK THAT WAS 3 FEET BETWEEN THE GOAL KEEPER AND MY KID AKA ‘GOD’ THEN IM SORRY, YOU NEED TO GO TO SPEC SAVERS.”

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There’s no way in hell their darling child could possibly make a mistake.

competitive parent
There is always that one super competitive parent hovering over everyone. Image via iStock.

There’s also another type of parent. These parents are non-existent at netball matches past the age of 16 but are dragged along by their beloved child every Saturday morning before that. They’re the ones who actually have a grip on reality and realise their darling child, who is usually subbed off during the important quarters and occasionally makes an appearance in GK, has no talent whatsoever. Actually catching the ball without dropping it is an achievement in itself. These parents are simply there for the weak coffee, a gossip session and to look like the doting parent (they’re supposed to be).

Each team, no matter how long they’ve know each other is always made up of specific personality types.

There is the encourager, who doesn’t care if they win or lose just as long as everyone has fun. They’re the ones whose voice you constantly hear yelling out, “good try”, great defence” or “better luck next time” and usually go the extra mile to give individual compliments to the opposing team when shaking hands at the end of the match “good game goal attack that was some awesome shooting” – I mean seriously, who has time for that?

netball
The umpire is always right even if they take an under 8s game way too seriously. Image via iStock.
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Then there’s the ball hog, usually played by Centre or Wing Attack, and they will literally zig and zag from one end of the court to the other screaming their lungs out to ensure every player on the team knows they are available. “I’m free, over here, to the left, if you need, I’M FREEEEEE!”

This same player is also usually the most competitive member and a bit of a hot head who is given constant reminders by the umpire to clam down and keep their elbows to themselves.

Growing up, there was always that one team mate who was way too cool for school netball. She’d play for the school because it was compulsory but really she was saving herself for club netball and boy, did she let everyone know. This player was usually the worst in the team but didn’t see a problem in it as she would constantly tell everyone that she had to save herself for club try outs and couldn’t risk an injury as she was such an asset to her “important team”.

My favourite player is the exaggerator. No matter what, there is always one. You know the type: When you accidentally lightly brush past their hand whilst defending them and next thing you know, they’re being carried off court in a stretcher with the ambulance driver calling the hospital to have a theatre on standby for their immediate arrival.

No one likes an exaggerator. Screenshot via YouTube.

Then there’s the player who takes the whole thing way too seriously and never calms down. The ball has been in the opposite goal circle for the last three minutes and yet they’re still bouncing up and down on their tippy-toes, staring you straight in the eye, ready to attack when you eventually stop biting your nails and decide to actually give a care about the game going on 20 metres away.

Or what the player (usually WD) who simply just doesn’t care if they are playing netball or not. They’re either plating their hair, doing cartwheels or day dreaming before they’ve even realised the play has moved to the opposite of the court and they’ve really brought nothing to this game.

No matter how many teams I’ve played in or against, week in, week out, these same characteristics come out. It’s as though something happens once netball players hit the court; they become different versions of themselves.

Which netball player best describes you? 

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