NETBALL'S polarising modern move needs to make its way to grassroots court action in Ballarat.
We need the super shot.
There is no doubting netball's popularity as a participation sport in this region across football-netball, junior netball, and indoor netball competitions.
But imagine the extra hype this double-goal potential could add to our community games.
Put aside what you think about the implementation of the super shot this season into Super Netball, the game's highest domestic rank. It was late notice with a reported lack of consultation with those who need it most.
The super shot takes netball skills and tactics to a whole new level.
Really, the long-range shot is not that far out of the realms of the traditional game. There is a 1.9-mete designated zone inside the existing goal circle and for the final five minutes of each quarter (plus all of extra time if its activated) any shot converted from this space is worth two goals.
There are no changes to player zones, nor in who can shoot, just a little extra reward for this effort.
Already this plunge into big shots is forcing our nation's best players to think differently and move away from an over-reliance on tall goal shooters parked at the post. And no, this is nothing personal from the fact such shooters tend to be double the height of this columnist in the circle.
When put to Ballarat Football Netball League's reigning A-grade premiership coach, Annie McCartin agrees the super shot is worth a go in country netball.
The North Ballarat City leader says the Ballarat elements might not always work to favour our game in the outdoors but any change to make the game more exciting for players and spectators should be considered - and Ballarat competitions had the talent it takes to pull this off.
"I'm a netball traditionalist but at the same time, the game must evolve. We can't stay stagnant," McCartin told Press Box.
"...We can't keep drifting along. Little kids watching Super Netball on TV will want to start practising their long shots. The tactics could be really exciting. It would really bring a different aspect to the game."
A good netball game is generally balanced and the focus comes down to who can break their rivals' next centre pass. Super goals can completely shake-up a close finish, especially with the added possibilities from rolling substitutions.
Some netball commentators argue, this super move was introduced in a bid to build a broadcast audience in an otherwise sports-starved nation. Even so, finally netball's top ranks are taking a chance on court.
Netball got scared five years ago and blacklisted the most electrifying move in the sport's on-court history: the rugby-style chair lift, goal-tender or ladies line-out. It does not matter what you call it, the unexpected assisted leap to defend under goals was outlawed by the International Netball Federation.
And the leap took fine-tuned skill and strength from elites to pull off.
The super shot can at least be a leap in the right direction for the game at all levels.
If you want to go all Moneyball, there is some data to back it up.
Deakin University sports researchers crunched the numbers pre-season and found the super shot was worth taking the risk at the elite level.
A Deakin study found Super Netball players were 1.98 to 2.48 times more likely to miss from the super shot range than close-up. On average, the more shots teams took wider out, the more points they could score and every goal adds up.
"Essentially, the chances of gaining an extra point from successful Super Shots more often than not outweighed the risk of missing," Dr Aaron Fox said. "...Given that netball matches are often decided by a few points or less, teams who make the most of the super shot period could find themselves in a winning position."
Sure, these numbers were crunched on Super Netball but the tone set at the top filters through to the grassroots. The odds might still be likely to be wider in country netball but does not mean they are impossible.
Now is the time for change.
The pandemic has kept us off courts, apart from a few junior starts, most of this year. It is time to get practising goal shooting.
Imagine if we returned to Ballarat courts with a whole new thriller tool to our game.
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