Tactical Superiority

Tactical Superiority

The aim of the Tactical Superiority pillar is to provide guidance and structure for the development of athletes through the England Netball Player Pathway. The athletes may be at different stages throughout their individual development journey within the groups you coach, and your challenge is to provide the right environment at the right time.

The framework emphasises the development of game understanding and decision making where we have identified a ‘gap’ when athletes are coming through the pathway. Fundamental skills are an important part of development, which are consolidated throughout an athlete’s journey, and put under pressure through the framework’s design. An athlete may be ready to be challenged in one aspect of the game but need further time to consolidate other areas.


Tactical Superiority is empowering the individual to be autonomous, adaptable, and able to implement change to tactically counteract opponents during match play.


The pillars within the framework will continue to provide an understanding of the progressive technical and tactical elements expected of athletes at all levels on the England Netball Player Pathway and how these may be applied through each stage. Every stage of a player’s development includes skills, application, decision making and continual understanding of the game itself. It is imperative and we encourage you to consider the Physical Potential and Psychological Edge pillars alongside Technical Excellence and Tactical Superiority, as part of your holistic approach to athlete development.

Use the information below to view Game Phases and Principles of the Game at the developmental stages related to an athlete’s journey on the England Netball Player Pathway. Use the guidance and supplementary resources alongside the values and beliefs in the Coaching Philosophy to build and shape your environments.



England Netball Player Pathway – Growing to become ‘Roses Ready’

England Netball Player Pathway is the journey an athlete takes from county level to VNSL Teams, and ultimately, England programmes. Whilst this pillar refers to the ‘England Netball Player Pathway’ and the journey through it, we acknowledge that school netball, club netball and other sporting environments will play a pivotal role in developing and contributing to the holistic development of athlete.

When using the framework and viewing the development stages, note the following terms below. Alongside this Learn, Love, Win should remain the core of our planning within the Pathway.


Game PhasesRelate to the moments active in possession in attack, defence and transition recognising both on and off the ball movements. This is the way we want to play and be identified on the international stage referred to as The Roses Way.

Game PrinciplesKey focus areas within each Game Phase through the player pathway. The level of complexity and cognitive demand will increase as athletes progress, both as individuals and within teams, in each of the competitive environments they are exposed to.

Development Stages these include:

These are the first stages on the England Netball Player Pathway for athletes of ages Under-15 and Under-17. During this time, athletes may train in County Player Development Programmes, VNSL Team’s Under 17 Academy and occasionally an VNSL Team’s Under 19 Academy or Roses Academy. Ideally, athletes would already have had positive experiences from environments to learn and love the game before coming into this stage. Although an emphasis on skill development remains, decision making must be an integral part of any training environment to continue their game understanding development.

This stage on the England Netball Player Pathway looks at athletes of ages Under-17 and Under-19. Athletes may train in VNSL Team’s Under 17, Under 19, Under 21 Academy Programmes and possibly Roses Academy. As the richness of competition and connections increase, learning how to disrupt opposition by working with others and recognising opposition movements are key.

This stage on the England Netball Player Pathway looks at athletes of ages Under-19 and Under 21. Athletes may be in VNSL Team’s Under 19, Under 21 Academy Programmes, alongside Roses Academy, England Under 21s, and Future Roses programmes. This stage is where we see the development of ‘experts’ in an individual’s decision-making, maximising opportunities, along with the execution of repeated efforts with a clear mind under pressure.


Game phases looked at against Game Principles and Development Stages include:

We play at pace with control and creativity. We frustrate the opposition with superior ball retention, technical execution and expert decision-making.

Youth Development
Performance Development
Elite Development
Seeing, reading & exploiting space Taking the ball as early as possible and securing possession, landing balanced and sighting forward options.

Recognise options available and chooses one in relation to possible subsequent phases

Recognising the position of opposition and movement of teammates and selecting the appropriate pass Changing the point of attack, combinations, tempo, speed of play
Move with purpose and at speed creating space for others and/or the ball Early preparation and effective movement to shift opposition and receive the ball Working with team mates to create space for self and others and overload defenders Constant movement to be available phase on phase, recognising and exploiting strengths and weaknesses of opposition
Means of creativity and Improvisation on and off the ball Exciting and positive with the ball, playing with elements of disguise and surprise
Decision making that positively impacts retaining possession and scoring
Connecting and combining with teammates using clever and creative options to frustrate the opposition and score Playing through and round opposition, opening up spaces in-between and beyond opponents.

Recognising momentum shifts and key moments and acting with intelligence



We have a strong physical presence with a ruthless ability to be brave and win the ball.

Youth Development
Performance Development
Elite Development
Gain possession as early as possible Proactive defending, being difficult to beat 1v1, disrupting the opposition route to goal Attacking the line of the ball to regain possession and/or shut down space.

Showing good understanding by recognising when to limit movement and when to risk challenging for ball

Working individually and with teammates to limit options, force errors and regaining possession with composure
Delay, deny, dictate, disrupt and disconnect the opposition Limiting opponents availability with effective marking. Delaying play, denying space and forward passing options Working with team mates/unit to dictate play, disrupting attacks and limit scoring opportunities Shutting down attacks by disrupting momentum and disconnecting the opposition, forcing errors and regain opportunities
Recognition of own and others position to create opportunities to regain possession Individual recognition to dictate the least advantage space for your opposition Working with team mates/unit to create regain opportunities The team taking initiative and maintaining pressure to regain possession



We exhibit cognitive clarity in the chaos of the game allowing us to gain an advantage over our opponents.

Youth Development
Performance Development
Elite Development
Recognising and responding quickly Reacting quickly to a change in possession. Understanding individual roles & responsibilities Recognising attacking opportunities and defensive danger, responding quickly as individuals Recognising the state of the game and respond with speed
Attack to Defence:


Win the ball back early. Selecting the best course of action; delay, deny, dictate to force mistakes to regain possession

Respond quickly to deny space and forward passes, seeking to win the ball back as quick as possible Working with team mates/unit to dictate play, disrupting attacks and limit scoring opportunities Speed of reaction to transition relative to own and others position on the court
Defence to Attack:


Regaining and retaining possession, playing to exploit opposition

Demonstrate individual control to retain possession and play positively.
Reacting with intelligent movement to exploit space
Playing into areas of the court that are exposed and/or where the opposition are disorganised Maximising opportunities to score from gained possession



Click the button below to view the Competition Exposure Guidance for emerging athletes…

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