What is fistball?

Gameplay

Fistball is a return game in which two teams face each other on two half-fields, similar to Volleyball. They are separated by a center line and a net-like ribbon that is stretched between two posts. The net height differs between categories, for women a net height of 1.90m applies. Tape and post are not allowed to be touched by a player or the ball.

Each team consists of five players. The goal is to fend off the attacks of the opponent and to play the ball back into the other half field, inaccessible to the opponent. In contrast to Volleyball, in Fistball the ball can only be played with one arm, also in the defense. In addition, the ball may bounce once on the ground per player, as in tennis. Each team is allowed to touch the ball 3 times, whereby no player is allowed to touch the ball twice.

History

It is not known exactly when the Fistball game was invented. What we know is that the roots of the game will be in the southern part of Europe, possibly in Italy. Already three centuries BC a game is transmitted to have originated there in which a ball made of leather had to be hit with arms and fists. The Fistball game was first recorded in writing in 240 AD. In 1555 Antonio Scaino wrote the first rules for an Italian national sport, the Gioco del Pallone, in English balloon game.

It was not until 1870 that Georg Weber introduced the sport of Fistball in Germany. Mainly practiced by gymnasts as a ball sport to relax from the daily routine. Fistball was soon considered as a gymnastics sport. It was at this time where Fistball spread to the surrounding, mainly German-speaking, countries. And German emigrants carried the sport to all continents, especially to South America and South West Africa.

Fistball today

The modern Fistball is mainly played in Europe and South America, occasionally also in North America, Africa and Asia. It is most widespread in countries with a high ratio of German-speaking emigrants. Thanks to the efforts of the International Fistball Association (IFA), more nations have been won for Fistball in recent years.

Fistball is not Olympic, but it has been represented at the World Games for years. Compared to more well-known sports such as Soccer, Tennis or Athletics, Fistball is a niche sport.

Women’s World Championships

To date, 8 Fistball World Championships for women have been held. The first event took place in Argentina in 1994, where Germany was crowned World Champion. Germany is the dominant nation with 6 world championship titles. Switzerland triumphed in 2002 and Brazil lifted the trophy in 2010. More details can be found on the WC Statistics page.

U18 World Championships

To date, 8 U18 Men’s World Championships and 7 for in the female competition have been held. The first men’s youth event took place in Bolzano in 2003, where Brazil won the title. Since 2006 the U18 will be held as combination event with U18 male and female competitions. Germany is the dominant nation with 5 world championship titles in each competitions the male and female U18 World Championships.