Thinking outside the Rectangle: Learning from another Sport.

The Vitality Superleague Grand Final is less than a day away and the end of the Netball season is beginning to merge into summer. For the month of May we are taking a different approach for Fresh Idea Friday. As we know for athlete development we should encourage players to play multi-sports (particularly invasion games) so each FIF in May we will share a game from a coach in another sport. This may be a challenge to some of your players but hopefully they will have some fun and learn something new.

With a story that has dominated the Sports news for the past few months and finishing off with Leicester City FC securing the title as Champions last weekend, football has definitely been in the limelight. So this week we have spoken to a Phil, a football coach who has shared a fun practice to try with your netballers.


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Phil Hicks is Bristol Rovers Under 15s Coach, Phil is a UEFA B Licence coach who is currently working towards the FA Youth Award Module 3. As well as previously coaching on the Bristol Rovers Advanced Development Centre programme; Phil has coached a number of County representative squads in the South Wales area. Phil possesses a BSc (Hons) in Sport & Exercise Science and currently works as the Sports Development Officer for the University of the West of England, delivering coach education programmes to its students.

You can purely play this as football for a bit of fun, or start as football, then challenge your players to identify the skills they are using in this game and how they can transfer this to Netball. You could then ask them to adapt the game to Netball themselves.

Adapt size of area and conditions to meet the needs of your players. (As a Netball court is approx. 30x15m you may have to adapt the number of players and square sizes to your facilities.)

Organisation & Setup

  • 45x30m grid with five 5×5 squares set up as shown (use spot mats to define areas).
  • 9v9 possession game
  • One ball per team initially
  • Objective of practice is for a receiving player to receive in a square to score a point. Players can only remain in a square for a max of 3 seconds (they must then empty out space for others).

Progressions & Adaptations

  • Introduce competition between teams, both teams have 60 seconds to score as many points as possible (when reviewing do not compare scores, simply ask players what went well, what can they do better and repeat. Is there improvement?).
  • Remove one ball, the practice now becomes an opposed possession practice (9v9 game)

Reduce the challenge

  • Add two neutral players who can play for both teams, creating an overload for team in possession

Increase the challenge

  • Decrease size of squares/remove squares
  • Teams can only receive in certain squares


Coaching Factors & Outcomes

 Technical/Tactical :

  • Timing of runs
  • Decision making – when/where to pass
  • Weight/direction of pass
  • Supporting positions in possession
  • Receiving skills
  • Increase tempo/speed when required

Physical : High work-rate and effort

Psychological : Competitive mind-set

Social :

  • Communication
  • Reflect and feedback as an individual and as part of a group
  • Give players ownership by giving them the option to change the size of the squares


Thank you Phil! Coaches, we hope that you enjoy trying something different with your players. And as with the players trying different sports, for your coaching development why not get in touch with someone who coaches another sport, pop along to observe their session and see what you take away.


Who will take home the title this season? Don’t miss out on what is sure to be a stunning match on Sky Sports tomorrow.

Happy Friday!

Team Coaching


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