Netball, invented in the USA was introduced to England in 1891. It didn’t take long for it to gain popularity and by the 1920s, young girls everywhere were playing it.
When Clara Baer, a sports teacher in New Orleans, received a copy of the rules of Basketball from the inventor Naismith he included a drawing of the court with lines penciled across it, simply to show the areas various players could best patrol. But Baer misinterpreted the lines and thought players couldn't leave those areas! In 1899 her mistake was ratified into the rules of netball as zones.
It is estimated that there are in excess of 20 million people playing netball in 70 countries and on all five continents. The principal countries are Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, England, Malawi, South Africa, Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Botswana, Trinidad & Tobago, Wales, Barbados, Scotland, Singapore and Malaysia.
According to England Netball, the governing body for netball in England, Netball is the most popular female sport in the country. The association has over 90,000 members and looks after the interests of over one million school children who play the sport. They claim that at least one million women and children play the game regularly. One of England Netball’s goals is to facilitate life-long participation, as players, coaches and umpires.