In a backlash against the violence and general repulsiveness of many contemporary team sports, a group of physical educators are putting their trust in a new game which is termed Tchoukball. Yes, that spelling is correct (pronounced ‘chookball’). It is a sport developed by Dr Hermann Brandt, a Swiss biologist, in 1975. He wanted to create a sport that would reduce sport-related injuries and bellicosity between players on the court.
The name was invented from one of his treatments, where he asked his patient to throw a ball at the trampoline which bounces the ball back for the patient to catch. A ‘tchouk’ sound was made every time the ball touched the net of the trampoline.
Tchoukball is an exceptional merger of handball (playing with hands and similar boundaries around the scoring area), volleyball (preventing the opponents’ shots from touching the ground) and squash (rebounding element in the game). This excellent example of combinatorial innovation puts together elements of different well-known sports to create a sport with less or no injuries.
It is a mixed-gender, non-contact sport. There is no attacking, obstructing of players and no interceptions of passes allowed, which means that players of diverse height and build can play together without impacting their game. The key skill required to play Tchoukball is the ability to catch and throw the ball, it is thus great for hand-eye coordination and growth of transferable skills. Playing Tchoukball frequently will also lead to greater dexterity, speed, strength and reaction times.
Tchoukball is played in more than 40 nations. Countries like the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Japan, China, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Philippines are all extensively participating and endorsing the sport.
Playing Tchoukball frequently will lead to greater dexterity, speed, strength and reaction times.
Let’s Get Started
The sport is mostly played on the dimensions of a basketball court. At each end, there is a frame – just like a trampoline. There is also a semicircular D-shaped zone around the frame that players cannot enter.
The rules of Tchoukball seem complicated at first but are in fact very easy to learn. The game is played with 2 teams of 12 players on each side. Of the 12 players, 7 can be on the court at any one time. It is interesting to note that both teams can score at either end of the pitch, meaning a team formation includes attackers and defenders at both ends of the playing area. For a team to score a point, the ball must be thrown by an attacking player, should hit the frame and bounce outside the ‘D’ without being caught by the defending team.
Physical contact is not permitted, and defenders may not try to stop the attacking team’s passes. Players may take three steps with the ball and can hold the ball for three seconds only. Teams are not allowed to pass the ball more than three times before shooting at the frame.
Rules to Remember
- The ball should not touch anyone below the knee.
- The ball should not touch the ground during play.
- You have 3 steps with the ball (if they catch it in the air, or 2 steps if they are on the ground at the time).
- You have 3 seconds with the ball and then you must pass or shoot.
- The team has 3 passes with the ball and then they have to shoot.
- The first pass from behind the frame is called a 0 pass and will not count towards the 3.
- Both teams can shoot 3 times at the same frame before the ball is shot at the other end.
- You cannot enter the ‘D’ with the ball. If you are shooting, then you can jump inside the ‘D’ but remember to shoot before you land.
Tchoukball is played in more than 40 nations.
Scoring: You score a point if you bounce the ball off the rebound surface without being caught by the opponent team before it touches the floor.
You give a point to the other team if:
- You miss the rebound surface when you shoot the ball.
- You make the ball bounce out of bounds.
- The ball shot by you bounces back, touching you.
- You throw the ball into the prohibited area, before or after it hits the rebound surface.
Penalties: You commit a penalty if:
- You move while dribbling the ball on the floor.
- You take more than three footprints on the floor while carrying the ball.
- You play using parts of your body below the knees.
- You make a fourth pass for your team.
- You make contact with the floor out-of-bounds or in the prohibited area while holding the ball.
- You deliberately catch a pass from the other team.
- You block your opponent players from moving or from passing the ball.
Tchoukball in India
Indian Tchoukball Federation is affiliated with Federation International De Tchouk Ball and Asia Pacific Tchoukball Federation. This sport is gaining popularity in India as well. Different states have successfully organised senior nationals, junior nationals and sub-junior nationals.