Words: Sarah Kobal | Photos: Cirxola Sports
What do you get when you combine a circular court, racquets, a rubber ball, a concave disc in the centre, and a good workout? 360ball. Also known as sport in a circle, this new racquet sport was created in South Africa and is attracting attention worldwide. 360ball was first introduced in 1990 by Mark and John Collins and then recreated in 2010.
360ball is a sporting concept that utilises the principles and properties of a circle to define a ball sport, and is the first new ball sporting concept since 1950.
People of all ages can enjoy the game. In addition, when you play 360ball, you are guaranteed of a great workout. Other benefits include burning up calories and muscle toning, as well as improving your peripheral awareness, eye and hand coordination, and your overall physical and mental health.
Games are played by two players or two teams of two players (doubles) in a circular court that has no sides. Players are positioned around a central concave deflecting disk, which they can move 360 degrees around, to keep the ball in play.
Each player or team is required to hit the ball twice before it can be returned to the disk. In a doubles game, for example, the first player has to hit the ball into the air. This is called 'the set'. The player's partner then follows through with a second stroke and strikes the ball so that it bounces off the disc. This is called 'the strike'. Once the ball has bounced off the disc, the set occurs again and so on. To score a point, a team or individual has to successfully ground the ball on the opponent's side of the court, commit a fault, or be awarded a penalty. The game is won by whoever reaches
21 points first, in three games.
Service: The service is decided by a toss of a coin or racket. It is taken from the opposite serving station to the side of that chosen by the other team/player. Serving sides alternate after each set. Once the ball has been served, the ball must carry to rebound off the far wall after bouncing off the disc, unless it has been intercepted by a player who is receiving the service.
The set and strike: In doubles, the receiving player must set the ball to his/her teammate. The ball must be played twice per side before returning the ball.
Shot: The ball is allowed to make contact with any part of the player's body, except for the arms, as this will be counted as a shot. The ball may be played after bouncing off the outer wall, or it can be played onto the wall with the intention of passing it to a team member, to strike the ball.
Bouncing: The ball is permitted to bounce or deflect off the disc/ricochet board in three ways. It can bounce once it directly comes off the disc. It can bounce directly after bouncing multiple times off the disc, without hitting an edge and deviating. The last allowance is right after bouncing off the disc and then the ricochet board.
Obstruction: This occurs when a player from one team moves into, or remains in, a position that obstructs or hinders an opponent from playing the intended shot.
• Six racquets
• A rubber ball
• Centre disc
• Ricochet boards
• A court
• Serving discs.
To make the game accessible to everyone, there is a starter set available to purchase. Everything you need is included in the starter set and it’s ideal for institutions that have no space available for a permanent 360ball court. Instead of having a permanent court, the starter kit provides a boundary rope so that 360ball can be played anywhere, anytime.
A mobile court has also been introduced into the equation, which is an inflatable court with netting. So, if one gets annoyed with always having to retrieve the ball when it is hit too hard and goes over the boundary rope, the mobile court is a great cost-effective solution. It only takes 18 minutes to put up and stays rigid for a minimum of 6 hours. The material is highly durable too.
Another option is purchasing a Poly Carbon Court, which has transparent walls instead of netting. 360ball has 360 degrees of viewing area, with each seat being the prime seat. By having walls, the rallies are guaranteed to last much longer because one can use the walls as an aid in the game.
Thanks to these options, 360ball is a very mobile sport. If you have the kit, you are able to set it up on the beach or in a park, where you can play for the whole day.
Fortunately, 360ball is an inexpensive sport, thus making it available to anyone who wants to play. With this in mind, Cirxola Sports, the company behind the promotion and marketing of 360ball, is looking to introduce the sport into schools and community projects because it’s more affordable and uses less space than other sports. It’s also an alternative to existing sports, which is easy to learn and lots of fun.
With 360ball being such an exciting and cost-effective sport, and once it becomes better known, I am confident that it will take off in South Africa. Young, old, male, female, fit, or unfit, this is a game that will keep you in shape and entertained for hours.
To find out more about the game or where to purchase a starter set, visit www.360ball.net