Jamaican Netball

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Jamaican Netball by Shermaine Anderson-Gayle
Posted 12/13/2009

Jamaica, no stranger in international sport circles, continues to reap great sporting success, perhaps making bigger and richer countries envious of our achievements.

Jamaican netball

And this, our number one female sport is a testament to that. Jamaica's netball team has consistently rank in the top 5 countries in the world!

The national team is known appropriately called the Sunshine Girls. We have 4 squads; the under 13, under 16, under 21 and the senior squad.

Netball was introduced to Jamaica by English women who came to teach in our girls secondary schools. The game became apart of the physical education programme since 1909.

Netball’s popularity among Jamaicans began to grow as it was introduced to various clubs, schools, churches and businesses island wide.

The Jamaica Netball Association became affiliated to the West Indies Netball Board in 1959.

The first Jamaican netball team was founded in 1959 and was invited to play in the West Indies Tournament in Montserrat in August 1959.

And little background to the sport?


Netball was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physical education teacher. Dr. Naismith main goal was to keep his students physically occupied indoors during the winter months. Netball is based on running, jumping, throwing and catching.

A team has 12 players but only 7 are played on court on each team in any game. It is played into four 15 minutes segments called quarters with teams changing shooting positions at the end of each quarter.

The game begins with a center pass, and center pass is changed after a goal is scored.

Netball is a non contact sports, which means no player should be in personal contact with an opponent. All attempts to score a goal must be taken inside of the semicircular area around the goal post. This area is called the goal area.

The sport is similar to basketball in many respects, but differs in a few key ways.

For example:

  • The hoop is smaller and there is no backboard.
  • Players must not run or dribble with the ball.
  • Ball is smaller.
  • The possession time for the ball is 3 seconds and this applies to all players.
  • Playing areas are restricted to players and each has their own positions.
  • Only two players are allowed to shoot goals.

Jamaica's netball team is presently ranked 4th in the world and has held the 1st position 9 times since 1988 in the Caribbean.

To learn more about the team, their latest achievements, statistics etc, visit the JNA's website. Read more about Jamaican sports here.

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