Spotlight on the Sports… we’re finding out more about ‘Tchoukball’

  • 06

    Mar

    Spotlight on the Sports… we’re finding out more about ‘Tchoukball’

    Welcome to the latest in our monthly series highlighting some of the weirder sports the world has to offer. In this article, we take a look at a popular warm-up game for players of cricket and handball, which has since developed into a sport in its own right. If you’ve ever thrown a ball at a sprung net and attempted to catch it again as it flies back at you, then you might unwittingly have taken your first steps towards becoming a Tchoukball player.

    Origins

    Hermann Brandt from Switzerland is credited as the creator of the game – having designed it by combining elements of handball, volleyball and squash. Admirably, he stated that he introduced the sport after growing concerned by the numerous serious injuries among athletes involved in games prone to aggressions and physical contact. He believed that sport should not only form champions, but also contribute to the creation of a batter and more humane society.

    Tchoukball has since become popular across the world, most notably in North America, Asia, and certain parts of Europe – particularly the Czech Republic, Italy, and here in Great Britain. The sport’s first World Championships were held in Switzerland back in 1970, where France emerged as the winners. The UK has enjoyed some success in Tchoukball tournaments, winning the Men’s European title in 2006, while they also hosted the competition four years later. The most recent World Championships, the eighth edition of the tournament, was won by hosts China in 2015 – retaining both the male and female titles they won in Italy four years earlier.

    Whilst in international competition the games are split into men’s and women’s tournaments, it’s very common for national competitions to be for mixed gender.

    Rules

    Tchoukball is traditionally played on an indoor court with a ‘frame’ placed at each end. These devices resemble small upright trampolines and as alluded to earlier in this piece are often used to help cricketers warm up ahead of matches. Each frame is inside a three metre D-shaped area which players aren’t permitted to enter – ensuring that players can’t simply place or drop the ball onto the frame. Any one team can score at either end of the court by hitting the frame with the ball and having it drop outside the D-area without it being caught by the opposition.

    A Tchoukball team consists of seven players on court at any one time, with up to five players in reserve. A player can move a maximum of three steps whilst holding the ball and can only remain stationary for up to three seconds before releasing possession. A team is also permitted a maximum of three times before shooting at the frame – although these rules can be relaxed for junior games. All physical contact is prohibited, making it an idea game to play across age grounds and/or genders.

    One point is scored by the attacking team when they successfully hit the frame and the ball bounces cleanly. The defending team scores a point if the attacking team miss the frame or throw the ball out of bounds. As no physical contact is permitted, the emphasis is on the defending team to rush the attacking team into a mistake or an interception. Once a point is scored or a rule is broken the ball is turned over to the opposition team.

    Benefits

    As the sport’s creator once prophesised, some people want to be physically active, but want an alternative to the traditional hard-hitting games that we’re used to seeing grace our sports fields. Tchoukball combines the perfect combination of speed and movement with security and fun. Despite the complete lack of physical contact, players of all ages should get a thrill out of this fast-moving, fast-scoring sport.

    The requirement to keep the ball moving and for no one player to take precedent should mean that everyone on the team is regularly involved in the game, whilst the quick turnovers should ensure that it doesn’t ever become stale for any team with slightly lesser ability in their ranks.

    We hope you enjoyed this Spotlight on the Sports piece; we’ll be back next month with more.



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