My GD was do face marking in a game and doing a fantastic job at blocking the GA entering the circle and not being able to shake her off, the umpire for the other team repeatedly called her for intimidation.To me it did not appear to be intimidation and the player herself umpires and sees this in many of the high level games. She is not pushing, no arms are used in fact it is the other players pushing into her. Is this intimidation I thought that was a pretty tough call. What constitutes as intimidation?

Netball CoachCoach
Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

when you say face marking, do you mean just straight zoning?  face to face defence?  sounds like a tough call.  the official rules of netball state that:

"When a player with or without the ball intimidates an opponent it is obstruction."

 it doesn't actually explain what "intimidation" is though.  so if your player was staring at her player, or talking to her player in a less than sportsmanship manner, then maybe, but i still think its a tough call.  zoning by essence is used to annoy the crap out of the attack players.  i use it all the time, and teach my girls to defend in a very close and physical manner, but i do draw the line and pushing, leaning, holding, which i have seen other teams do.  

if i were you, id go and see the umpire and ask her if she could explain it, so you could correct your player, as im sure you do not want her to be called for this in every game.  and hopefully the umpire will have no explanation for this, and she might be the one learning the difference of what intimidation is.  as i have only heard of intimidation being used during the act of shooting, i.e. defending the face, or a defence making inappropriate sounds during the shot.

Hope you get it sorted.

Netball CoachCoach

Thanks Lee-anne, as you have so aptly put it, she was annoying the crap out of the player and the players coach who happened to be umpiring. Thanks for adding some clarity she was doing an awesome job. I ended up baking a cake and taking it in for the whole team and their friends to share at lunch the next day as they played so well.Hopefully this was a one off, zone defence is something that we haven't seen much of in the middle grades however this player is exposed to top netball grades through her umpiring and attends many of the silver fern and ANZ championship games. Pushing, leaning and holding are traits that I see constantly and that my players complain of during game play. I will discuss intimidation along with leaning, holding or pushing with the team however this does not appear to be something that they are doing or that I am teaching them to do.

Janet Coach, Australia

At a coaching course a couple of years ago, the coach instructor from Netball SA did refer to "staring into the eyes of the opposition" as being intimidation which suprised some of us as we couldn't quite see how this interpretation could be taken from the rules.  It was referred to in the context of defending a shot at goal. I haven't ever seen it penalised by an umpire though and intimidation is usually used to control unsportsmanlike behaviour as Leanne has stated.  I have a couple of players that are intimidated by face marking and I would consider that to be good defence tactics by the opposition which should not be penalised.   If a player is struggling with face marking/blocking by a defender in a game it should be a coaching issue to overcome rather than for the umpire to control.  I would be getting it clarified by the head umpire at your association.  I also umpire and find that there are some quite different interpretations of many of the rules at times and don't mind being questioned in the right manner (politely in breaks) if a team is confused by my decisions. 

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

i actually sent an email to the qld netball association and asked what their definition of initimidation, and they replied with anything that makes another player intimidated...which is kind of a silly response i thought, as if i was a small petite player and was playing someone who was much larger and they were defending me, then i might feel intimidated even though they have done nothing but play.  i can see that staring at a player while shooter or even while blocking could intimidate them (we have all seen the lovely looks our teenage daughters give us at times, so imagine if they were giving such looks to an opponent), but still, we should be teaching our kids to be good sportsmen, and be able to handle a bit of aggression on court, provided it is still within the spirit of the game.  

Netball CoachCoach

I clarified with an official the intimidation call the response was if you are front face marking you are not allowed to be looking at the players face that is considered intimidation. 

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

ah there you go...i always teach my kids have one eye on their feet and the other watching the ball...never occured to me to look at my player...unless they were hot (im talking mixed then i might...hahahha

Diana FranklinCoach, Australia

Can you please explain what Face Marking is?

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

in respect to zoning, its when you stand face to face with your player and you are staring at their face.  its a very agressive stance and hence why you get called for it.  it terms of defending a pass or shot, its when you put your hand in front of their face and make no attempt to defend the ball.  you will also get called for intimidation for doing this.

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