Netball, Fast5, Nets, Walking Netball.... an explanation of different netball variations

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

So we all know that traditional netball is a game played with 7 a side, 4X15 min quarters and 1 point scored for a goal. But, you may have heard of one of the many variations of netball that have been developed over the last 20 years and are wondering what the difference is to traditional netball, and whether you might like to try a netball variation.

First of all lets talk about the traditional game. In recent years there has been increasing discussion about changing some of the rules to make it a more exciting game to watch. There are some leagues that are trialling different versions of the game, most notably, in the 2020 Suncorp super league in Australia have introduced the following rules:

  • the last 5 mins of each quarter is called the "power 5" - if a shooter shoots a goal from a designated outside ring of the D the team receives 2 points instead of 1

  • rolling substitutions - gone are the days of people pretending to be injured - coaches can sub players on and off when they like

  • bonus points for winning quarters - so as well as calculating goals for and against they also give bonus points to the team which won each quarter. This keeps teams fighting through the whole game, even if they are losing overall they can still pick up points if they win the last quarter of the game so there's no "giving up".

Walking Netball

Walking netball is aimed at everyone, regardless of fitness level. It is largely the same rules as traditional netball but played at a slower pace and no running or jumping is allowed so players of all ages and fitness levels can join in with the fun. The main differences compared to traditional netball are:

  • Recommended 4 quarters of 6 mins

  • No running or jumping allowed

  • Players have 4 seconds to pass the ball instead of 3

  • 1-2 steps are allowed when in possession of the ball

  • Rolling subs are permitted

Fast5 (previously known as Fastnet)

Fast5 or Fastnet was introduced with the aim of speeding up the game and making it more exciting. The main differences with traditional netball are:

  • 4 quarters of 6 mins each

  • 5 aside (no WA / WD)

  • Shots taken outside the D are worth 2 points

  • Each team can nominate one quarter to be their "power play" quarter where they receive double points for goals scored

I have also seen versions of Fast5 played with 7 players too which is also fun.


Nets is played indoors inside a high tension net (sometimes called a cage) that means that the ball never goes out of play. Players are allowed to use the nets to pass the ball to their team mates. Because the ball doesn't go out of play it's fast-paced, not for the faint hearted! The main differences compared to traditional netball are:

  • 4 quarters of 12 minutes

  • Played indoors inside a net or cage

  • Ball never goes out of play

  • After a goal is scored the defending team restarts play from under the oppositions post

  • 2 points for goals scored from outside the D

  • Can be 5 / 6 or 7 aside and there are variations to the rules depending on which version you are playing

For more information:

If you're in England you may also have heard of Bee Netball and Back to Netball. These are both programmes set up by England Netball to encourage more participation.

Back to Netball is a "friendly re-introduction to Netball" for people who have perhaps played at school and want to start playing again or for people who are completely new to the game. A coach will take you through some of the basic rules and techniques of the game and a session will usually end with a friendly game. Some back to netball teams have improved so much they now enter into friendly summer local leagues.

Bee Netball is a relatively new programme started by England Netball aimed at U11s. It is a structured coaching programme which is "all about friendship, inclusion, fair play and playing together. It’s not about how good children are, it’s about how hard they try to Bee!"

Finally, we should mention the growing participation of men in Netball, Fast5 and Nets. There are some great mixed leagues and now there are even some male only leagues. Us netballers welcome and encourage men to give it a go, but be warned - you need to be super fit! 😜

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