Parallels between Running and Netball

Parallels between Running and Netball

Working out, sweating, stretching, physical exertion, sore limbs, hydration, good shoes and outfits. The list goes on when it comes to the similarities between almost any two sports.

While running and netball are separate sports with distinct rules and objectives, there are some shared elements between the two when considering specific aspects of the game.

Endurance and Fitness

Both running and netball require a good level of cardiovascular endurance and overall fitness. Running involves sustained aerobic activity, which helps build endurance by improving the heart and lung function.

Netball players must be able to continuously move around the court for extended periods, engaging in quick sprints and changes of direction.


In netball, players often need to sprint to get into scoring positions, create space, or defend against opponents. Speed and acceleration are crucial to beat opponents and reach the ball quickly. You can find out more about the specific mechanics of the game at

Similarly, sprinting is a fundamental skill in running. Whether it’s short-distance sprints or longer sprints in events like the 100 meters or 400 meters, runners need explosive power, stride efficiency, and fast twitch muscle activation to achieve top speeds.

Agility and Quickness

Netball requires quick movements, agile footwork, and rapid changes in direction. Players must evade defenders, find open spaces, and react swiftly to intercept or block passes. Runners likewise need agility and quickness to navigate turns, avoid obstacles, and maintain their pace during races.

Agility drills and exercises that improve lateral movement and reaction time are beneficial for both netball players and runners.

Coordination and Balance

Both running and netball rely on coordination and balance. In netball, players need to maintain balance while making quick movements and passing the ball accurately to teammates. They must also coordinate their movements with other players to execute strategic plays.

Good balance and coordination help in maintaining an efficient running gait and maximizing speed and efficiency.

Mental Toughness

Both sports demand mental toughness. In running, athletes often experience physical and mental fatigue during long-distance races. They must push through discomfort and maintain focus to achieve their goals. In netball, players face pressure situations, tight defences, and intense competition.

They need mental resilience to make split-second decisions, adapt to changing game situations, and maintain composure. Mental strength, determination, and the ability to handle pressure are important for success in both running and netball.


Netball is a team sport that requires coordinated efforts among players to achieve success. Players must communicate, cooperate, and work together to create scoring opportunities, defend against opponents, and execute game strategies. Similarly, relay races in running involve teamwork and the exchange of batons between runners.

Even in individual running events, athletes often train in a team environment, supporting and pushing each other to achieve their best results. The camaraderie and team dynamics fostered in netball and running can lead to a shared sense of achievement and collective success.

Netball’s Distinct Qualities

Netball possesses several elements that are important to mention, which distinguishes it from running.

Team Dynamics

Netball is a team sport that thrives on the dynamics and interactions among players. It requires coordinated efforts, effective communication, and teamwork to execute strategies, create scoring opportunities, and defend against opponents.

The presence of teammates and the necessity to synchronise movements and passes make netball a highly collaborative and interdependent sport.

Positions and Roles

Netball has specific positions and roles for players on the court, each with distinct responsibilities and limitations. These positions include goal shooter, goal attack, wing attack, centre, wing defence, goal defence, and goalkeeper.

This specialisation of roles adds complexity and strategic depth to netball, distinguishing it from the individual-focused nature of running.

Passing and Ball Control

Netball revolves around passing and ball control skills. Players must master accurate and efficient passing techniques to move the ball swiftly across the court and find open teammates.

Netball requires players to make split-second decisions about when and where to pass, considering the positioning of opponents and teammates. These skills are not as prominent or integral in running, where the objective is to cover a distance as quickly as possible.

Shooting and Scoring

Scoring in netball involves shooting the ball into the opponent’s goal. Accurate shooting requires a specific skill set, including precision, timing, and shot selection. Netball shooters need to develop techniques for shooting from various distances and angles while under defensive pressure.

The ability to score goals is a fundamental element of netball that sets it apart from running.


While running and netball share certain similarities in terms of endurance, sprinting, agility, coordination, mental toughness, and teamwork, they also possess distinct qualities that set them apart.

Netball’s team dynamics, specialised positions, focus on passing and ball control, shooting and scoring, defensive strategies, and specific rules differentiate it from running. Both sports offer unique experiences and challenges, catering to different preferences and skill sets.

Whether it’s the solitary pursuit of running or the collective effort of netball, individuals can find fulfilment and enjoyment in these diverse athletic endeavours.