Netball, a game of grace (by the ladies of course)
Wikipedia defines it as a ball sport played by two teams of seven players. Its development, derived from early versions of basketball, began in England in the 1890s. By 1960, international playing rules had been standardised for the game, and the International Federation of Netball and Women’s Basketball (later renamed the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA)) was formed. As of 2011, IFNA comprises more than 60 national teams organized into five global regions.
There was a game that was played at the Choa Chu Kang Sports Hall. The game was among a series of other sports such as Badminton, Basketball, Table Tennis, and indoor Soccer. Unlike netball, all other games were largely played with much aggressiveness and force (especially where the game was dominated by the masculine gender). Even mixed doubles Badminton requires a certain amount of force from the feminine player to compete for points throughout the game. Netball on the hand, was feminine force dominated and maybe that was why it has so much grace involved that even any forms of contention was done with such elegance in their actions.
Netball – a player waiting for the referee to signal to her to commence the first throw. She stood firmly without any posture of intimidation. It was also difficult to guess who she will throw the ball to.
I am not really into sports these days but I was there simply to capture a few good pictures for memories sake. As it is that I might have mentioned somewhere in other posts that my foundation in photography started with sports photography. However, this genre has been something that I abandoned over the last 2 decades in preference for something more stationery in nature, such as architecture, landscape and portraiture. As I picked up my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, boy was I amazed at the weight this thing actually weighs. The weight was even heavier when coupled with a huge professional series body. I also realized that the lack of practice in sports photography has made me somewhat lost when I walked around the court. Yes, walking around the court where the ladies were playing netball but totally unsure how to start the photographing process. In the past it was instantaneous where once I am into the battleground of the players, I knew exactly what to shoot, where to run, where to stop and more importantly, the ability to anticipate the movement of the players.
Netball – A throw can be in any direction but as a photographer, you need to understand the player as each of them has a tendency to behave in a certain manner (such as a preferred person to pass the ball to).
It took me awhile to swing into action and know what to expect as each game progress. A photographer needs to know who are the top scorers in the game because you would want to track her with your lens to capture some interesting shots since she will be in action more (having control of the ball) than the other players. You would also want to isolate some shots with just one or two key players instead of all shots that frame many players within as too much of such pictures will dull the whole viewing experience of the users.
Netball – some players tend to be more expressive with their hands gesture. Capturing shots like this lend creativity to the audience in trying to interpret what the subject was trying to say.
Netball – A frame such as this has the subject being isolated shows the intense concentration of her body language.
Some shots are rather comical and less of the sports in focus. By capturing interesting light moment shots add creativity and also a new angle to the photo-documentary. The one below illustrates a possible mistake by the players in passing the ball to the wrong target or the one further down that shows 2 netball players dancing instead of competing for the ball.
Netball – some shots shed a lighter moment of an intense game, such as the lady at the extreme left covering her mouth with her hand – as if some mistakes have been made.
Netball – Is she putting off a dance in the middle of the game?
There will be more shots of one or two particular players given their more outstanding performance or their ability to capture the attention of the photographer.
Netball – a player who tends to be more expressive that the rest.
Netball – even as she walked around, she will know ho to position herself in line of sight with the photographer.
Netball – and even if she stumbles, she will know how to carry her composure well enough to look good and be graceful (if you compare her and that of the other player on the right you will know what I mean).
Netball – The same female player with a different post but equally worth the attention – sending the ball away or calling the ball towards her?
Last but not least, in every sports photography coverage, find the keeper’s shot is of utmost important. If you do not have one that you think is a keeper, it goes to show that you have not have a fruitful day. I am glad that I have managed to get at least one although I have to admit that my skills are a bit rusty after all these years. Not to forget that age is also catching up and my speed is slower which in turn affects my agility.
Nevertheless, here is one that I like very much as it shows the grace of netball – the game, the ball and the player.
Netball – the Keeper’s shot.
Jui-Yong Daniel, SIM