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netball defence drill

Aside from being fit enough to keep up with your player you need to learn how to “actively defend” against the opposing player to disrupt the other teams’ attacking strategies.

Creating effective defence can be difficult during a game because you have to adapt as your opposition starts to identify your plans, therefore you need a lot of different tactics up your sleeve to pull out when you need them. So here are some training drills to help you to become better defenders.

Anticipation Drill

You’ll Need:

  • 1 Feeder
  • 2 Static Players
  • 1 working defender
  • 1 Ball

Standing in a triangle with the defensive player in between, the feeder throws the ball to either of the static players and the defensive player has to anticipate and intercept the incoming ball.

This helps in a game scenario if the opposition attack by driving together as it allows you to cover more ground and block two separate options.

The downside:

This technique is not effective all of the time and if the players are too spaced out you can end up poorly defending both and allowing them too much space to maneuver.

anticipation drill visual - Netball defence drills

Anywhere’s Defence Drill Variation 

It can be found on my Basic Training Games as it is a variation and already posted. This is a great drill to promote quick feet in both attacking and defending players.

Anywhere's Defender Variation

Man-on-Man Defence Drill

You’ll Need

  • 4 players
  • 1 Ball

Starting in a box formation there are two players per team. Each player picks and stays with one opposing player for the remainder of the drill. When the ball is in the air the defensive players need to be side on to the attack and the ball to get the best positioning. When their attacking player has the ball, they need to defend from 3 feet away getting their arms up. Use up to a full third for this drill.

The attacking pair continues to pass until the defenders intercept the ball.


If players are getting lazy and favoring loopy passes only allow bounce or chest passes to restrict them and promote moving and dodging.

Man on man defence drill visual

Copy Cat Drill

You’ll need:

  • 1 Attacker
  • 1 Defender

In pairs players must make their way up the court. The defender must copy everything the attacking player does. In each third they must change direction at least 3 times and the aim is for the defense to stay on their player without falling too far behind and being in a position that they could theoretically mark from.

The purpose of this drill is to get used to following the movements of the player (stop/starting/changing direction) and not falling back when they are tired. Additionally it helps to promote diligence when following opposition on the court.

Copy cat drill visual - netball defence drill

Pushing Out Drill

You’ll need:

  • 1 Attacking
  • 1 Defender

With the attacker starting at one end of the court, the aim for the defender is to run out from the side and “corrall” the attacker to the outside of the court. Attackers are to run out again once they have been hearded and the defence is to bring them back in. Attackers should be working at around 70%.

This drill works on forcing attacking players out to restrict the opposing teams’ ability to create passing opportunities. It can also be adapted for keeping the shooters out of the semi-circle.

pushing out drill visual - Netball defence drills

“Herding Sheep” Defence Variation Game

You’ll need:

  • All players

Have 5 – 6 defenders spread out around the court (start with half court until you get the hang of it) and the attackers follow in a line together at one end, when the lead sheep shouts “BAA” the sheep run in a straight line up the court and it is the work of the defenders to get them running around the outside of the perimeter.

Once all of the sheep are running around the outside they can try to run back in as a group but generally must stay together. The sheep should work at around 70%.

This helps to work on defense zoning and enables everyone to work on dodging and getting free from their players.

Piggy in the middle drill

You’ll need:

  • 2 attackers
  • 1 defender

This is a traditional English playground game that really applies to netball. Defenders aim to intercept the passes between the two attackers. Keep moving up and down the court and make it harder by not allowing loopy overhead passes and this will help improve your defence.

piggy in the middle netball defence drill

I hope you found these defensive training drills useful. Check out the other Basic Training Games I have posted.

You may also be interested in this Netball Pinterest Board for netball inspiration, drills and info!