What is Quidditch?
The first mention of quidditch came during J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. In these books wizards flew around on brooms and played with enchanted balls. Thanks to this inspiration the sport of quidditch exists in real life as well. Players compete with broomsticks between their legs while simultaneously catching and throwing balls. The sport is fast paced, physical, and delivers some serious nostalgia, making you feel like you’re in the wizarding world.
As a real life sport, quidditch was first introduced in 2005 thanks to some students at Middlebury College. Although they created it based on Harry Potter, the sport resembles more of a mix between existing sports. The sport has gained traction in colleges and universities, as many schools have added quidditch teams themselves. Professional leagues have even been founded in both the United States and England. In 2012 a World Cup was held in England and 5 countries participated. Modern day quidditch remains somewhat unchanged despite the growth in popularity. It is still unknown whether quidditch will one day be known as a mainstream sport.
Similarly to other sports, quidditch is played on a field, either grass or turf. The dimensions of a quidditch pitch is 60 by 33 feet. It also has several line markings on the field to distinguish key areas. There is a half line, two keeper lines, as well as two goal lines. The boundary of the field also curves in the corners, similar to a hockey rink.
The pieces of equipment used in quidditch mimic what is talked about during the Harry Potter books. Each player must hold a broom stick in between their legs at all times. There are two different balls in play as well: the quaffle and the bludger. The quaffle is often a slightly deflated volleyball, in order to allow players to better grip the ball. The bludger is a rubber kickball. Players also wear headbands at all times to display what position they are. Chasers wear white, keepers wear green, beaters wear black, and seekers wear yellow. Finally, there are six circular rings mounted on poles, all of which are made from plastic. There are three for each team to defend.
During a quidditch match there are seven players on each side. They are broken down into different positions. Each position does something totally different from one another, and a lot happens all at once.
There are three players called chasers who work together to throw the quaffle through the rings and past the keeper to earn 10 points. While this is happening there are two more “beaters” who carry bludgers, and if they hit another player on the opposing team with one, they must get off their broom and run back to their goal post.
Teams go back and forth trading points until the snitch is brought out. The snitch is a person who has a flag tied to their waist, and each team has a designated player that tries to capture the flag. The player that does so awards their team 30 points as well as ends the game.
Positions and Roles
There are four positions per team in quidditch. The first is the keeper, and there is only one keeper per team. The keeper guards the rings and tries to prevent the other team’s chasers from throwing the quaffle into them. There are three chasers per team, and they pass the quaffle among themselves and try to score the ball through any of the three rings. Beaters carry kickballs called bludgers which they attempt to hit the other team with, there are two beaters per team. Finally is the seeker, the seeker has one job only, to catch the snitch before the other team’s seeker can.
Rules and Regulations
Quidditch is a very high contact sport, enough so where players are actually encouraged to “play on.” There is no rule against tackling another player or even checking. However you cannot contact someone as they are in mid air to avoid serious injury. A large regulation in quidditch is the gender inclusive rule. Each team is required to field and play a certain number of each gender as a compliance with equity. There may not be more than four of the same gender on the field at one time. The name of the rule is Title 9 ¾, a play on Title IX, and a nod to Harry Potter’s platform 9 and ¾.
Referees and Officials
Each quidditch match has six, and sometimes seven, referees. They help dictate the pace of play as well as keep the game in check. The first is a head referee who is in charge and has the final say. The head referee has assistant referees helping them out as well, with a lead assistant referee and two additional assistants. There are also specialized officials, including one focused solely on the snitch, and two whose job is the monitor the goals. The main purpose of the officials is calling penalties, which can lead to either power plays or ejections, but they also provide rulings on any play that is controversial.
Lingo and Terminology
If you’re interested in playing quidditch yourself it’s not a bad idea to freshen up with some of the terms and lingo that is used. Here are some common words and phrases used by quidditch players.
- Snitch: The grand prize in quidditch, it’s capture is worth 30 points and ends the game.
- Quaffle: A volleyball that is passed around by chasers.
- Bludger: A kickball used by the beaters.
- Beat: The act of being hit by a bludger.
Part of every good team is a coach, that is no different than in quidditch. A team’s coach will be in charge of substitutions as well as strategy. It’s up to them to put the right people on the field, manage chemistry, and produce winning results. However not all quidditch teams actually field a coach. Often the team is led by a captain who is voted on by the rest of the members.
Skills and Techniques
Quidditch skills can be broken down into subcategories based on how they are used. The first of which is catching and throwing. A player needs to be able to accurately throw a ball either to a teammate, through the goalpost, or at an opponent. On the flip side, if a teammate throws to you, you need to be able to catch it. Another skill within the sport is running or elusiveness. If you have the quaffle you’re going to be pressured by the other team with both physicality and balls coming your way. A good quidditch player will be able to avoid this with some nice jukes and speed.
There are two main areas of strategy within quidditch: the offensive side of the game and the defensive. On offense the chasers of the team often have plays and strategies in order to get the ball through the rings. What that means is each player runs to a certain, rehearsed spot, and the timing of which is down pat. The goal behind this strategy is that if you know where the ball will be, you have an advantage over the defense.
On the defensive side of things, there are two typical strategies a team may use: man to man and zone. Man to man has each defender guarding a specific player on the other team while zone has each defender guarding an area. Other strategies in quidditch include bludger usage, when to go for the snitch, and pace of play.
If you’re looking to be a quidditch player yourself, a good place to start is by practicing and running drills. Some key points to focus on are your agility, speed, catching, and throwing. For throwing and catching, a good way to hone these skills is just by practicing. Get used to the size of the balls in play and play catch with a kickball or volleyball to further familiarize yourself. To improve your speed and agility, there are countless drills you can run. Try doing some start/stop sprints or box jumps to increase the two. Honing these skills will make you a better quidditch player.
As of now, both the winter and summer Olympics have yet to include quidditch as a sport. Quidditch is still relatively new, and it is still trying to grow in its popularity. However, the International Quidditch Association has hosted its own World Cup beginning in 2012 in London. There were five countries that attended this World Cup including England, Australia, Canada, United States, and France. Since then, there has been one every other year.
Although quidditch is a smaller lesser known sport, it still does have several brands and companies dedicated to making equipment.
Marygold Quidditch Brooms: Quidditch broom making company.
US Games: Offers an assortment of equipment used in the sport.
Shooty Hoops Supplies: Known for making the goal post hoops, but also produces snitch shorts.
Utility Apparel: Produces and sells clothing that can be worn during quidditch play.
Quidditch Youth Organizations
The start of any career begins with the youth stage. US Quidditch has built a solid foundation for its youth by offering programs and leagues for kids to play in.
Elizabeth Cardinals: A youth club located in Colorado, that offers kids a chance to get an early jump on quidditch.
Fruita Middle Quidditch Club: Another youth club, located in Colorado. Younger kids in middle school are given an opportunity to play quidditch.
Quidditch is broken up into several divisions: youth, high school, collegiate, and professional.
Major League Quidditch: The United States’ professional quidditch league.
NCAA: Governing body for collegiate sports, includes the quidditch section. Broken up into club sports and division 1-3.
Quidditch Premier League: A seventeen team league composed of teams from the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands.
Columbia College: A college quidditch team that ranks at the top of the Nation.
United States: The national quidditch team for The USA, has dominated the global scene winning all but one World Cup.
London Monarchs: The most recent champion of the Quidditch Premier League.
IQA World Cup: Organized by the International Quidditch Association, the World Cup is held every other year, beginning in 2012.
US Quidditch Cup: The biggest tournament in America
European Quidditch Cup: A tournament that is open to European quidditch club teams. Teams compete against another for a chance of being the best team in Europe.
Asian-Pacific Quidditch Cup: Similar to the European Cup, Asian teams, including the Oceania region, play against one another in a large tournament.
To this date there have not been many books written about the real life sport of quidditch. There is the well known Harry Potter series which started everything off.
Harry Potter: JK Rowling’s hit book series which created the fictional sport of quidditch
Quidditch Rule Book: The entire set of rules and regulations as decided by the US quidditch organization.
US Quidditch: An encompassing overview of the sport, with redirects to equipment, rules, and involvement opportunities.
MuggleNet: A resource for understanding the game of quidditch.
What is Quidditch?
Quidditch is a sport loosely based on Harry Potter, but it resembles a mix of rugby, hockey, and even basketball.
Is Quidditch a real sport?
Although it is more popularly known as a fictional sport, quidditch does actually exist in real life! An adaptation of JK Rowling’s magical game of quidditch was created in 2005. Leagues and teams exist in several different countries, as the sport is gaining traction.
How is Quidditch played?
Quidditch is played either indoors or outdoors, on a grass or turf field. Players hold onto broom sticks while they run around, and try to score more points than the other team by scoring “goals” all while avoiding other players.
How many balls are in Quidditch?
There are a total of four balls within a quidditch match. That includes three “bludgers” which are kickballs as well as one “quaffle” which is a volleyball. Each team always gets to have possession of at least one bludger, with the third ball rotating freely from team to team. Sometimes the snitch is considered a ball, as it is a tennis ball inside a sock, hung on a volunteer’s waist.