In the second part of this week’s column, Tamsin Greenway ponders on the merits (or not) of implementing some of the Fast5 rules into the full format of netball…
Recently, there was a survey in Australia about what rules people would want to see changed in the seven-a-side game.
As the game continues to drive forwards, rule changes to make it more ‘TV friendly, commercial or bring in a wider audience’ will always be considered
With this in mind, and after the epic British Fast5 All-Stars Championships at the Copper Box last weekend, I wanted to look at a few of the rules that have been thrown around and that could be thought about or implemented in the seven-a-side game.
Is Fast5 a potential Olympic route?
Tamsin Greenway reflects on the British Fast5 All-Star Championships and asks if Fast5 is a potential route into the Olympics for netball?
Shooting and points changes
I think the shooting one is quite interesting… and probably gets the most amount of uproar when suggesting a change.
I definitely wouldn’t want to see long-bombs in terms of shooting from outside of the circle in a 60-minute game. But, I am still intrigued about how you could split the circle into one-point and two-point areas.
I’m not saying that it needs to change in the league right now, but we have created a game where we have big, tall shooters and it’s becoming harder to play in the circle unless you are close to being 6ft tall or above.
There are still a few [shorter] GAs floating around but what selectors are looking at, and what kids understand, is that you need to have tall shooters with close to post shooting percentages to make it. We went through years of changing every short GA into a WA!
I think because of this we have also created a fear of shooting from long distance and I think that we’re making that a problem with youngsters rather than embracing the fact that if you can shoot long, then you should.
When I put it out on Twitter some of the Australian fans were saying that they’d trialled it and that people were just passing it in and out and making a mockery of the game.
But, I feel that just backs up my point. Most players don’t shoot from distance anymore and Australia, alongside others, have been a key leader in this change in the game. Whereas we can’t forget that New Zealand just won a World Cup on shooting from distance.
So, the question is would it help your smaller GAs, who can shoot from distance like a Natalie Haythornthwaite, to get more time on court and be able to play 60 minutes there? Would it change team selection and tactics?
Splitting the circle into one and two points would definitely change the dynamic of the defence because if shooters are going from distance, how you win ball suddenly becomes very different. It would also change the roles of the shooting circle.
With two and one point shots, especially with some of the blowout games in Superleague, would it also help? Look at a team like Storm who finished eighth last year – would Sophie Hankin shooting from distance and Karyn Bailey being able to rebound have changed matches and results if those points were made into two, maybe?
This is why I don’t think that we should totally take it off the table. I know that there are a lot of traditionalists out there and I get that I love our game as it is too, but I also think that the game has changed massively in the last few years. I don’t see that there’s any reason why it couldn’t be looked at or explored some more to see if it has a place to help improve and not hinder.
Harten and Mentor take Roses break
Jo Harten and Geva Mentor have both announced that they will be taking six-month breaks away from England’s Vitality Roses programme.
Interestingly I’m not a big fan of rolling subs. A lot of people will say that it’s the easiest one to change and that it brings impact and that they don’t mind it.
Firstly I’m not totally against it, as I do think that we do need to get rid of the dodgy timeouts – as honestly the fake injuries are very easy to spot, however I can’t get my head around unlimited rolling subs. If there was a limit to them or there was a move towards the tactical timeout that Suncorp has introduced then I’d be more keen.
My issues come from both a coach’s and player’s point of view. As a player, in certain positions it’s not always that easy to go make an impact in five or six minutes in a quarter. So, unless you’re having an absolute shocker, as a top-level player you should be able to work things out and personally be given time to do so.
I also think it could quite easily become an excuse for a lack of coaching. It’s a really easy cop-out if a player isn’t quite doing what you want to just roll on another sub, try something new. There will be occasions this needs to happen but if you’ve done your prep then this wouldn’t be a constant.
I always liked to give my players the opportunity at quarter-time to try and change things and to trust that player to go back on and deliver. I think we have to look at how this filters down from elite level and if the only answer ever is to just keep trying new players out we might lose the very essence of what coaching and playing is all about.
Power Plays and Centre Passes
I love the Power Play at Fast5, it’s brilliant, but I don’t think that it has a place in the regular game. It’s that simple in my book.
With Centre Passes as well, I don’t think that you should be given an extra lifeline. Shooting from distance takes skill and execution, being given double points or the ball back to help get closer games or excitement just takes it too far.