List of Wall and Ball Sports A-Z
Have you ever played a sport like tennis, badminton, or volleyball and found the gameplay boring or predictable? Then give wall-and-ball sports a try, which incorporate one or more vertical surfaces into the field of play. Walls bring an additional physical dimension to the gameplay and cause the ball to careen unpredictably when bounced off them. Most wall-and-ball sports are played as singles or doubles competitions, but wallyball, essentially volleyball with a wall instead of a net, can be played by teams of up to six people.
American handball, the earliest modern wall-and-ball sport, is the easiest to play, requiring only a ball and a wall. In this type of handball, players must alternately bounce the ball against a wall and back into the field of play without letting it hit the ground more than once. Other sports like racquetball, paddleball, and fronton were inspired by and derived from this version of handball. Jai alai, in which players use handheld baskets to propel the ball, is promoted as one of the fastest ball sports, featuring ball speeds over 180mph (290kph).
Wall-and-Ball Sports List A to Z
What are wall-and-ball sports?
Wall-and-ball sports are ball sports that incorporate one or more vertical faces (walls) into the playing surface. In wall-and-ball sports, players are required to intentionally ricochet the ball against a wall, bouncing it back into the field of play in order to continue gameplay. Play in wall-and-ball sports often begins with the act of one player serving or making an initial bounce of the ball against a wall. Depending on the sport, the ball may be propelled through space by players' bare hands or with the aid of handheld rackets, baskets, or bats.
What wall-and-ball sports are team sports?
Most wall-and-ball sports can be played as a team sport or an individual sport against a single opponent. This is because, like tennis and other racket sports not requiring a wall, most wall-and-ball sports may be played as a singles or doubles match. Wallyball, a volleyball variant, features teams of two to six players. Jai-alai is played in a round-robin format of up to eight competing teams, but each team is composed of only one or two players.
What are some of the oldest wall-and-ball sports?
The Mesoamerican Ballgame is the oldest wall-and-ball sport, as well as the first sport ever played in the Americas. Pre-Columbian Americans played this sport as early as 1700 BC, with the oldest surviving Mesoamerican Ballgame court dating to 1400 BC. Although the original rules are obscure, the gameplay is believed to resemble modern racquetball. A modern descendent of the Mesoamerican Ballgame is ulama, a ball sport popular in parts of Mexico. Another old wall-and-ball sport is jai alai, which originated in the Basque region in the seventeenth century and is still played across the world today.
What is the most popular wall-and-ball sport?
The most popular wall-and-ball sport is squash, with an estimated 20 million squash players worldwide. In addition, over 5 million athletes play racquetball, which is a wall-and-ball sport similar to squash in equipment and gameplay, but played on a slightly different court. Squash was invented in 1830 by schoolboys in England, and the sport quickly gained popularity across British schools and universities. Throughout the nineteenth century, soldiers spread the sport anywhere they were stationed in the British Empire, which at that time stretched across the globe.