Membership and Participation

No Finals for 11&U

The policy that states no finals for the lower junior age groups is one that is continually challenged. This document aims to explain the philosophy underpinning the policy and the reasons why the policy was established.

When finals are part of the season it emphasises the need to win. This places extra pressure on the participants and the coach. The common response of coaches (to ensure the win) is to play the “best” players in the key positions ie GA, C, GD. This means that the ‘weaker’ players have less court time and only experience 1 or 2 other positions. It can also lead to ‘best’ players having limited flexibility as they only ‘know’ one position. Therefore, having finals can disadvantage not only the weaker players but also the stronger ones.

Finals structure can also put additional pressure on those coaches who are aware of their responsibility to give all players an opportunity to develop. The pressure comes from the comments of parents or club administrators who are placing their adult views on competition and who attempt to pressure the coach into playing the “best” team every week.

In order to develop the skills of the game, children should be introduced to all court positions and given as much court time as possible. Not having finals is a very simple way of ensuring that children can focus on developing skills, experience all positions on the court and have equal time on court, in an environment that is encouraging and positive.

Managing Change
Making the change from previously having 11 & under finals, to no finals requires Associations, coaches and parents to understand the ramifications of having finals and the benefits of no finals for not only individual participants but for netball as a whole. Some factors to consider with the change process:

  • Education is the key – make everyone aware of why change needs to occur.
  • View the change as making a positive step to do what is best for the 11 & Under age group, and recognise that the way things were done in the past is not necessarily the best way to do things now.
  • Support those who are making decisions based on research and developing new educational opportunities for the youth.
  • Develop strategies to support all participants, allowing everyone to see the positives occurring
  • Develop a budget to ensure you can provide quality participation rewards for all 11 & Under participants.

The Benefits of No Finals

  • Provides development opportunities for young netballers.
  • More players with better-developed skills
  • More players with better court knowledge
  • Reduces risk of injury from tiredness (in tournament situation)/overuse)
  • Encourages more participation and intrinsic rewards – i.e. having fun, enjoying playing with the team
  • Every 11 & Under participant is rewarded for their involvement – not just a few
  • Risk is well managed (ie appropriate activities are provided)

Disadvantages of Having Finals

  • Children with limited skills due to lack of court time
  • Children who drop out because they do not have the skills
  • Children who drop out because they are not having fun (due to pressure and lack of court time)
  • Increased and inappropriate pressure to perform
  • Reduced skill performance due to undue pressure
  • Children who drop out as a result of ‘bad” experience in finals ie no court time

Having clear selection policies that are openly available for viewing, enables Clubs and Associations to provide programs that maximize enjoyment, participation, and player development. It is essential that Clubs and Associations have carefully chosen selection committees and the procedure for selection of such committees is also outlined in a clear and transparent manner. Keep in mind that policies take time to devise and implement and need to be specific to the Club or Associations objectives. It is also important to complete ongoing evaluation and modification to keep policies relevant and specific to player needs. To achieve certainty and consistency in selection, consider:

  • Developing concise and clear policies, procedures and criteria.
  • Communicating these policies, procedures and criteria effectively to all concerned well in advance of timelines.
  • Ensuring consideration and counselling for those who are not selected.
  • Providing feedback for those who are not selected.
  • Seeking the input of experts before problems arise.
  • Changes in emotional, physical and psychological growth of players and develop policies that are specific to each relevant age group.

Consider the following when Planning:

  • Junior Netball Policy
  • Aims and Objectives of your Association
    - Aim to keep club-based decisions in line with your Associations aims/objectives
    - Are you aware of your Associations current By Laws?
    - What are the player pathways that your Association provides?
  • Aims and Objectives of your Club
    - How can your Club encourage and provide opportunities for players to realise and maximise their potential?
    - How can your Club provide the best possible sporting experiences to encourage lifelong participation in sport?
    - How can your Club provide all players access to participation, regardless of sex, age, religion, race?
    - How does your Club cater for the disadvantaged or players with special needs?

Consider the following for Administration:

  • How do you advertise for players?
  • What are the player application procedures?
  • What information is provided by the players who apply to play?
  • What are the age groups in your Association?
  • How many teams in each age group can be catered for? ie. taking into consideration court numbers, volunteers, equipment, coaches etc.
  • What are the selection procedures - do you run selection days, make team choices by team entries or devise teams from application forms? • Who is making the decision regarding team selection? What information are they provided with?
  • What procedures are provided to challenge a decision?


  • What are your Club/Associations objectives for the particular age group?
  • Past playing teams – do you intend keeping teams together from last season?
  • Will players be able to play with friends?
  • Are there teams that wish to enter as an entire unit – e.g. school teams
  • How will you cater for males? Do you have mixed competitions?
  • What policy will there be on team sizes? – dependent upon age 
  • How do you cater for any players with special needs?
  • Do you spread talented kids throughout or are they grouped together to form more dominating teams?
  • What procedures are put in place for teams where players have left – i.e. due to injury.

Things to Note: Gender

  • Schools, Clubs and Associations must make participation in netball available to boys and girls. It is unacceptable to exclude either boys or girls under the age of 12 years from any competitive or non-competitive netball activity.
  • The Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act specifically states that: 
    - “Strength, stamina and physique are not considered relevant for children under the age of 12 years”
    - Therefore, Netball competitions for children under the age of 12 years (11&U) will have no restrictions placed on the male – female playing ratio.
  • The following guidelines should be adopted for children and youth 12 – 17 years ie. competitions for 13&U, 15&U, 17&U:
    - Schools, Clubs, and local Associations must endeavour to provide all children and youth with the same opportunities for participation in netball.
    - Due to differences in strength, physique and stamina at this age, equality of access to participation may be achieved by:
    ✓ Providing both a separate girls only and boys only competition.
    ✓ Providing a mixed or modified mixed netball competition.

A Clearance is permission for a player to transfer from the club/team with which they are currently registered to another club/team competing in the same competition. Clearances ensure that:
• Players are able to move to another club/team to further their playing opportunities
• Players do not leave current club/team with outstanding fees or club/team property such as uniform
• Players cannot transfer to another club/team during the second half of the season, which may leave a club/team short of players

Note: A Clearance is not needed to play for a Club/Team in a different Association/League’s competition. Clearances only apply WITHIN the same Association/League Each Association/League may determine its own Clearance Policy, which should be outlined in the competition Bylaws. The policy needs to address:
1. When Clearances are required
2. Conditions of Clearances
3. Procedure for obtaining Clearances

When Clearances are required – Examples
• If a player wishes to transfer to another club/team during the current season
• If a player wishes to transfer to another club/team at the end of the season
  - Most Associations/Leagues however allow free movement between Associations/Leagues or clubs/teams at the end of the season

Conditions of Clearances – Examples
• No player will be granted more than one (1) clearance per season
• A clearance will not be granted once the first half of the season has been completed 
  - ie after the 7th round of matches in a 14 round draw 
  - After the 5th round of matches in a 10 round draw
• Players who owe outstanding playing fees or are in possession of club/team property will not be granted a clearance
• A player must have received notification in writing from the Association/League before playing for a new club/team
• Penalties for breach of the procedure may include loss of premiership points or a fine

Review the Netball Connect Clearance process here.

Netball clubs and associations have a duty of care to ensure that the eligibility criteria for any event or competition are in the best interests of player safety and wellbeing. This duty of care is even greater in relation to younger participants who are less developed both physically and psychologically than senior players. As this is a time of rapid developmental changes, selection procedures must be specific to age groups.

Netball Victoria provides a detailed Junior Netball policy which all clubs and associations should be aware of when selecting Junior Teams. The policy provides guidelines on improving the quality of opportunities for children in the sport of Netball.

NetSetGO! / 11 & Under (no finals)

  • Participation at this age should be based on enjoyment. Current research shows the major reasons that children play sport are to have fun, learn and/or improve skills, be with friends and be actively involved.
  • As these programs do not involve finals, selection of teams should be based on the above criteria and not purely on ability.
  • Consideration must be given to:
    - Team sizes
    - Strategies to encourage participation and enjoyment 
    - Player positional rotation
    - Provision of Fundamental Motor Skills

13 & Under

  • One of the major objectives of the Junior Netball Policy is to provide young players with the best possible sporting experiences with the view to encouraging lifelong participation in netball.
  • Netballers at this age are developing their fundamental skills ready to transfer into competitive situations, developing a sense of team/club, enjoying training and matches and enjoying the social benefits of playing in a team.
  • Clubs and associations should consider this when selecting teams at this age group. Consideration must be given to:
    - Team sizes
    - Group management (rotation of positions, substitutions etc)
    - Opportunity for skill development (provision of feedback, training etc)
    - Finals – equal inclusion of all team players
    - Opportunities for boys to continue playing.

15 & Under 

  • Netballers at this age tend to be focused on personal improvement as well as enjoyment of the game. They use matches as a learning experience and start implementing simple team strategies and tactics.
  • Clubs and associations should consider this when selecting teams at this age group. Consideration must be given to:
    - Team sizes 
    - Group management (rotation of positions, substitutions etc)
    - Opportunity for skill and game development (provision of feedback, training etc)
    - Provision of pathways for players who wish to further develop their skills
    - Finals – equal inclusion of all team players
    - Opportunities for players to participate in other aspects of the game such as umpiring, administration and coaching.


In December 2006, Netball Victoria adopted the Netball Australia Member Protection Policy with the view of being committed to treating all people with respect, dignity and fairness.

The policy aims to ensure the core values, good reputation, positive behaviours and positive attitudes of Netball Victoria, member organisations and affiliates are maintained and enhanced.

The Member Protection Policy covers areas such as child protection, anti-discrimination, sexual relationships, pregnancy, gender identity and cyberbullying.

- It is good risk management
- Effective deterrent to harassment and discrimination
- Promotes awareness of the sport’s philosophy on what is appropriate behaviour
- It ensures that complaints can be dealt with quickly, responsibly and effectively
- It provides for consistency at all levels of the organisation
- It promotes compliance with the law
- Protection of your members’ personal information
- Getting the right people involved in your Association/Club

- Provide guidelines for the protection of the health, safety and wellbeing of all Netball Victoria members and those who participate in the activities of Netball Victoria, Regions, Affiliated Associations and Affiliated Clubs.
- To set out the procedures to be followed in dealing with harassment, discrimination and other forms of inappropriate behaviour in an effective, appropriate and timely manner.
- To provide a procedure for informal and formal resolution of complaints and a procedure for the appeal of such complaints.
The Policy applies to organisations that include, but are not limited to, Netball Victoria, all affiliated Associations, Clubs, Regions, Netball Victoria members and parents/spectators of affiliated competitions. The complete list of who the Member Protection Policy applies to is set out in the Policy itself.

Associations and Leagues affiliated with Netball Victoria follow the Official Rules of Netball 2020. These rules apply to all competitions conducted in Victoria including those conducted for females, males and mixed.

Association By-laws vary across the State and are developed based on the particular requirements of the competitions. Junior By-Laws comply with legislation that has particular requirements for the participation of junior boys in netball. Please refer to the Junior By-Laws if your Association runs competitions for this age group. The following clauses have been developed for use in senior competitions and should be added to Association By-Laws. All umpires should be provided with a copy of the Association’s bylaws relating to mixed competitions including any ByLaws governing the conduct of matches. Note: all competitions must also comply with Netball Victoria’s Gender Regulation.

Netball is a great sport for people of ALL abilities. Netball Victoria is committed to the provision of opportunities for people with disabilities to play Netball at Associations, Leagues, Clubs and Schools. Netball is an easy, fun sport that can be modified to suit any level of ability. General hints to better include everyone include:

1. Think ability, not disability a. Always work with what the participant can do. Everyone has abilities of some kind.
2. Modify for all a. Any activity, skill or game can be adapted to allow maximum participation.
3. People with a disability must be seen as a person first a. Ie the similarities to peers should be highlighted, not the differences.

Below are some suggested Sport Adaptations and Modifications for Netball Players with a Disability. Although these are some handy tips and suggestions, only adapt where necessary and always work up to the traditional game of netball as skills improve. Above all, never change the game so much that it is no longer netball. The integrity of the game of netball must always be maintained. Note: these adaptations are aimed at school programs and younger age programs. They may not be suitable for all Association/League competitions.

• Allow students to shoot at a lower ring
• Modify the 3 foot rule to ensure that the defenders must be 4 feet away
• Give students peers to assist them during the game
• Give players extra time to pass and shoot
• Allow changes to footwork rules
• Use larger or smaller balls
• Use textured balls
• Use soft ball as needed
• Use physical assistance when teaching skill if needed.

For more information and resources on Netball for People with a Disability, head to the Netball for All page.

Netball Victoria identifies and actively supports the need for Association/League by-laws to be inclusive as opposed to restrictive. We seek to increase the level of participation for all groups including females, males, and people with a disability.

Netball Victoria does not interfere with the conduct of competitions at Association/League level, however, we have a duty of care to provide advice and support regarding the improvement of the competition for the betterment of netball for all. Associations/Leagues are responsible for the management of their own competitions and for establishing the by-laws for the conduct of their competition. They are empowered to make decisions that are in the best interests of the Association/League, its clubs and individual members. Clubs and players who participate at an Association/League do so because they have agreed to accept the Constitution and By-laws of the competition. Should they wish to clarify or request changes to existing by-laws they must follow the procedures as outlined in the Constitution of the Association/League. Clubs and/or players should be advised to write to the Association/League should they have concerns with an existing “restrictive” by-law.

Reasons for restricting players from playing in two competitions on the one day
There are various reasons why an Association/League might introduce a by-law that restricts players from participating in two or more competitions on the same day. These reasons include:
• To prevent ‘stacking’ of teams with more skilled players for finals ie: players only playing enough games to qualify for finals in each competition. This may restrict opportunities for regular players to participate in finals.
• To protect its own competition so that members do not leave their Association or League.
• To protect the welfare of their players – reduce the risk of overuse injuries caused by playing two matches without adequate recovery time in between.

Reasons against restricting players from playing in two competitions on one day or within one week
Some Netball Associations/Leagues may have inappropriately modelled it's rules/by-laws on those of the local Football League and hence introduced a restrictive participation by-law. The differences between Netball and Football are significant (ie: football games are longer in duration, are more physical contests and often make financial payments for players) hence restrictive rules may be more relevant for player safety and welfare.

Netball Victoria membership entitles members to participate in a number of Netball Victoria affiliated competitions - as a player, umpire or coach. This not only provides extensive development opportunities but also allows members to take full advantage of their Netball Victoria membership. Limiting netball players from competing in more than one competition on any given day or within a given week can be deemed as prohibitive and not in the best interests of the game and/or individuals.

A restrictive participation by-law could be challenged because it: 
• Denies player participation
• Restricts player development
• Can contribute to the forfeiting of matches due to lack of player availability, and
• Contradicts current trends that encourage inclusiveness and maximum participation in the sport.

The last point above relates to the Statement of Purposes of an Incorporated Association/League, many of which assert that they “promote and encourage participation and enjoyment in the sport of Netball”. A by-law that restricts players from competing in two competitions on the one day could be seen as actively demoting and discouraging participation and enjoyment.

In summary, each Association/League must consider the current necessity and relevance of the inclusion of a restrictive participation by-law and make a decision that:
• is fair and equitable
• is in the best interests of the Association/League, clubs and individual members 
• will promote and encourage participation and enjoyment in the sport of Netball.

Netball Australia and Netball Victoria seeks to provide a child-safe environment. As part of this, Netball Australia, Member Organisations and Affiliates will seek to recruit appropriate and competent staff and volunteers who do not pose a risk to children. To this end, volunteers, independent contractors, employees and other workplace participants will be required to undertake employment screening and provide the State/Territory relevant Working with Children Check (WWCC).

Employment screening and WWCC involves criminal history checks, a signed Declaration, referee checks and other appropriate checks that assess a person’s suitability to work with children and young people. Employment screening must be completed for all appointments to positions that involve direct, unsupervised contact with children as outlined in the Employment Screening Requirements below.

WWCC laws exist in all States and Territories and appointment of personnel must comply with the relevant legislation as outlined in the Working with Children Check Requirements. Individuals travelling with children and young people to another State or Territory in a work-related capacity must comply with the screening requirements of that particular State or Territory.

Netball Australia, Netball Victoria and our Affiliates will seek to follow the below process where possible for people who currently occupy or who apply for any work (paid or voluntary) that involves direct and unsupervised contact with people under the age of 18 years.

1. We will identify those positions where people work, coach or have regular unsupervised contact with children and young people under the age of 18.
2. Before a person is offered such a position, we will ask them to complete a Member Protection Declaration.
3. If a person is unable to provide an MPD, or if they cannot satisfactorily answer the questions in the MPD, we will not appoint them to the position.
4. Where possible, we will check a person’s referees (verbal or written) about their suitability for the position.
5. We will ask each person to provide the state relevant Working with Children Check. If a person does not agree to obtain a WWCC, we will not appoint them to the position.
6. We will protect the privacy of each person who undertakes the screening process and keep all information we obtain strictly confidential. 
7. We will seek to return all the information collected as part of the screening process (e.g. completed MPD forms, WWCC and referee reports) to the relevant person if they are not appointed to the position. Alternatively, all records will be destroyed within 28 days of the date of the decision or the expiry of any appeal period unless, within that time, the person requests the documents to be returned to them.
8. The records of all people appointed to our organisation will be kept on file in a secure location.

Working with Child Check Requirements
Working with Children Checks aim to create a child-safe environment and to protect children and young people involved in our sport from harm. They assess the suitability of people to work with children and young people and can involve:
• Criminal history checks
• Signed declarations
• Referee checks
• Other relevant background checks to assess a person’s suitability to work with children and young people.

Each state and territory have child protection laws specifying responsibilities for both organisations and individuals who work or have contact with children. Volunteers, employees, independent contractors and other workplace participants must, if required to work with children, ensure that they comply with the requirements of the relevant state or territory legislation and hold a current WWC check.

Ensure all position application forms for volunteer and contracted positions include the clause “In accordance with Netball Australia’s Member Protection Policy your appointment may be subject to (a) successful screening including a Working With Children Check and (b) completion of Member Protection Declaration form”

1. If an Association or Club is required to screen, the Association or Club shall require the preferred applicant or existing appointee to obtain a Working With Children Check or produce a current WWCC card.
2. The Association or Club should obtain the WWCC application number from the individual and subsequently sight the volunteer’s WWCC card and keep a record that number.
3. The Association or Club must use the volunteer’s WWCC application or card number.

This process must be undertaken each time an individual is appointed to a role which requires screening. The Association or Club is required to store the Working with Children Check Details form as well as the result of WWCC verification with the application form and Member Protection Declaration form in secure location.

1. The person subject to screening must determine whether they need a WWCC in accordance with the Member Protection Policy. 2. The person subject to screening is then required to obtain, complete and lodge an application form online or in person at a participating Australia Post outlet and receive an Application Receipt Number.
3. The person subject to screening should then complete the Working With Children Check Detail Form (using the Application Receipt number) and return it to their Club/Association/League. Applicants are notified by letter and issued with an Assessment Notice and a WWCC card which is valid for five years unless it is cancelled. An Assessment Notice means the applicants has successfully passed a Working With Children Check and may commence or continue to work in child-related work. Receiving an Assessment Notice means that the applicant either does not have any criminal offences considered relevant to the Check or findings from a professional disciplinary body. If the person subject to screening already has a valid WWCC it is transferable between different employers or volunteer organisations (except if moving from a volunteer to an employee position). Please see the Working with Children Check Victoria website for further info

For further information please visit Child Safety Resource hub specifically Recruitment & Screening. 

A common topic of discussion for administrators and parents is whether to have development programs or competitive game play for juniors. A lot of research has been conducted that focuses on why children participate in sport and the state of their fitness and skill levels. This research provides valuable information about the path to take in the provision of quality children’s sport.

Benefits of Sport for Children 
Some of the many benefits of sport participation for children include:
• Reduced risk of obesity
• Increased cardiovascular fitness
• Healthy growth of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons
• Improved coordination and balance
 A greater ability to physically relax and, therefore, avoid the complications of chronic muscular tension (such as headache or back ache)
• Improved sleep
• Mental health benefits, such as greater confidence
• Network of support from team sports
• Improved social skills
• Improved personal skills, including cooperation and leadership (i)

Reducing inactivity may be more effective in achieving overall increases in energy levels in young children than putting the emphasis on increasing involvement in sporting activities. Taking steps to reduce children’s sedentary time is important.

Common Reasons Children give for withdrawing from Sport
• Not being as good as they want to be, or feeling they’re not as good as others
• Wanting to play another sport or do something else with their time
• Not having enough fun or being bored
• Being forced to play and not liking the pressure
• Not liking the coach, finding the training too hard or not getting as much playing time as other children
• Losing often (ii)

From the ages of 5 to 10, children are becoming more independent and physically active than they were in earlier years. Strength and muscle coordination improve rapidly in these years (iii), thus it is important to capitalise on this and aid in children’s development as they learn to throw, kick, catch.

Ensuring players have the correct technique and fundamental motor skills prevents injury, and muscle and joint strain. Players learn these skills during their development stages in the early years of their life – particularly from ages 5 to 10. Because of these reasons, it is important to focus on young children’s skill development as opposed to competitive game play.

Focusing on skill development increases young participants’ enjoyment, improves social skills, coordination and balance, assists with long term injury prevention and helps to keep more young people active and involved within their sport. It removes the chance of young children leaving the sport due to not having fun, losing often or not feeling good enough due to decreased playing time.

NetSetGO is Australia’s introductory Netball program designed for 5 – 10 year olds. It provides a staged introduction to Netball by focusing on the development of fundamental motor skills and introducing children to the game through modifications that are developmentally suitable. It is important to remember that children aren't adults, therefore focusing on skill development and fundamental motor skills with the assistance of modified rules is essential.

i 2015. Sport And Children.  
ii Raising Children Network. 2020. Sport: Encouraging Children To Have A Positive Attitude
iii Northshore University Health System. 2019. Growth And Development, Ages 6 To 10 Years | Health Encyclopedia

Netball Victoria defines a trialling member as a person who participates in any of the following and does not have a current NV Membership:
- Come and Try Days
- Woolworths NetSetGO Come and Play Days
- Gala Days
- Inclusion Programs by Netball Victoria
- Netball Victoria Clinics
- Any other event as determined by Netball Victoria During these sanctioned events participants need to know they are trialling members for the purpose of the event.

Documents must stipulate participants are trialling members and state a period of trial. A trial period can be no more than four sessions of the specific event or program.

Trialling Members will be covered for Personal Accident Insurance under the National Policy, for the duration of the event they are participating in. It is essential the following details are recorded as a minimum. It is not necessary to send these details into Netball Victoria but in the unfortunate event of an injury occurring and a claim being made, you will be contacted to provide this information:
- Date of event
- Event Venue/Location
- Association/League/Club delivering the event
- Participants full name, date of birth, address, email and phone number.

Click here to download a template you can use to record trialling members details. This is not compulsory to use, it is only there as a guide and you can modify the template to suit a particular event although it must contain this information at a minimum.

Clubs who have tryouts should adopt this model to ensure participants are covered if an injury does occur. Netball Victoria Memberships are non-refundable. In the event that a player has purchased a membership and they do not make a team, a refund will not be awarded.