NETBALL CONVERSION RATES: WHAT’S GOOD AND WHAT’S NOT?

If you’re a netball coach who’s partial to a few statistics, or are looking to add them to your coaching feedback, then calculating your team’s conversion rates off centre passes and turnovers can be a great, simple place to start.

They’re easy, and they can give lots of good, easy information about how, why and where your game was won and lost and what you should focus on at the next training session.

Here’s your quick guide to how you can record your conversion rates, what are good rates to aim for, and some important things to keep in mind!

HOW TO RECORD THEM

Keeping track and calculating your team’s conversions is easier than you might think.

For centre passes, in a coaching book/notes some coaches will write or print out a series of alternating letters for each quarter – i.e. H A H A H A H A H A H A – with the H representing the “home” team (you), and the A representing the “away” team (the opposition).

Each letter represents a centre pass, and circling a letter means you scored from it, while putting a cross/slash through a letter means the opposition scored off it. For example, if your team has the first centre pass and they score a goal, simply circle the first H. If the opposition gets a turnover and scores off your centre pass, put a slash through it. It will then be the opposition’s centre pass, so move onto the first A, and circle it or cross it based on who scores the goal.

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For turnovers, have another small area on the same page where each quarter you can put a line or slash when your team gets a positive turnover. If that turnover is converted, circle that mark. If it’s not, put another line through it to make a cross.

Break it down quarter by quarter, and at the end of each quarter or end of the game you’ll have a good idea of where it was won or lost, and give yourself a starting point for what you might work on at the next training session.

CENTRE PASS CONVERSION RATES

Centre passes – like a serve in tennis – are the only time where your team has complete control over the starting position of the ball, so it stands to reason that your team should be aiming for a relatively high percentage of conversions.

Now of course it’s unrealistic for very young teams to achieve a high number of centre pass conversions (in fact, I wouldn’t even take statistics – you’re far better off simply focusing on their basic skills and giving them one or two things to focus on for every game).

But assuming your team has some experience, aiming for a conversion rate of 70-75% is a good starting point. That’s three out of every four centre passes converted, which (on paper!) is realistic and achievable if your team performs well and executes what you’ve worked on at training.

Some more elite or experienced teams might aim higher than that, but if you’re converting 70% of your own centre passes, you’ll be winning far more games than you’ll be losing.

TURNOVER CONVERSION RATES

Interestingly, sometimes when we’ve asked players to set their own team goals for turnover conversions, they’ve picked a higher percentage than their centre passes!

While it would be wonderful if they achieved that, it’s just not realistic.

The reason? Most of your positive turnovers inevitably happen in the defensive third, meaning the team has to transition the ball the full length of the court, which increases the chances of an error and turning the ball back over. You’ve also got the turnovers occurring in random locations on court – i.e. you might have a defensive throw-in in very back corner of the court, which is an incredibly difficult spot to move the ball from.

With all of this in mind, setting a goal for converted turnovers of 50-60% will hold most teams in good stead.

If you can convert 50% of your turnovers, effectively you’ll only need to convert 51% of your centre passes in order to win the game, and vice versa.

While that might sound easy in theory, think about how often your team earns a great turnover, only to throw it away within one or two passes!

Teaching them how to value the ball at trainings is important, so be sure to make use of transition drills that encourage them to really switch on as soon as they’ve gained a turnover, and stick to some key principles like always offering a short, safe option immediately after a turnover or intercept.

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