Thursday, November 27, 2014

Net Gain

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PHM0814Flash-1-4Get fit while getting hip to a popular European-import sport.

Ever heard of netball? Yeah, neither had we until we came across the Phoenix Heat, the Valley’s own team devoted to this domestically obscure sport.

Similar to basketball, netball is played on a court divided into zones featuring two 10-foot baskets. The seven players on each team are restricted to certain zones depending on what position they play. There’s no running or dribbling with the ball; players must shoot or pass to another player within three seconds or be penalized. “Games can get pretty intense,” Faye Hall, Heat president, says. “Your level of fitness has to be pretty high.”

Composed of expats from across the globe, the Heat is a testament to netball’s worldwide popularity, particularly in Commonwealth nations, where it dates back to the early 20th century. “People want to join after playing all of their lives,” British-born Hall says. “I loved the game and wanted to continue playing after coming to Phoenix.” Hall started the club in 2008; today, there are 20 players – including three Americans – on the all-female roster.

Since there aren’t any netball courts in Phoenix, the team creates their zones with chalk at an outdoor basketball court for practices and games. Hall hopes to instill an appreciation for the sport not only in the state but nationwide through the club’s association with Netball America. “I’d love to pass on the gift of netball by promoting it in schools,” Hall says. “My dream would be to see it as popular as women’s soccer is today.”

The group welcomes all new recruits. “We welcome anyone,” Hall says. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Want to know more?
Phoenix Heat practices are open to the public and held every Monday from 7-8:30 p.m. at Cactus Park, 7202 E. Cactus Rd., Scottsdale. Visit phoenixheatnetball.com for more information.

 

 

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