Unknown Sport: Bossaball
When thinking back on childhood memories, everyone can pick out a time when they have had a jump on their beds. Some adults might be guilty of having a cheeky go at bouncing on the bed. You find yourself buying a new bed then before you know it, you have had a couple bounces all in the name of ‘testing the mattress’. If that’s the case, you might want to check out Bossaball – the new guilt free pleasure where you can bounce to your heart’s content.
Bossaball is the brainchild of Belgian jack of all trades Filip Eyckman. The Belgian tennis player come DJ developed the concept of Bossaball during his travels through Brazil. His fledgling sport incorporates every passion found on the beaches of Brazil: football, volleyball, Capoeira and music. To add another element of fun to proceedings, an inflatable pitch and trampolines were thrown into the mix. All these elements were blended together in the early to mid 2000s and Bossaball was born.
As it is to Brazilian life, music is a necessity to a Bossaball show. Acting as a backdrop to the main entertainment, it helps to bring the Brazilian party vibe, staying true to it’s roots. The word ‘bossa’ itself comes from the music genre ‘bossa nova’. The word bossa is sometimes translated as style, flair or attitude in Portuguese, according to the sport’s official website.
Rules of Bossaball
Two teams consisting of 4 or 5 members play the game on an inflatable surface. They are separated by a net (which can be adjusted based on the players’ heights), and on either side of the net are trampolines. The trampoline is the focal point for attacking, so only one player can occupy this space at a time.
The aim of the game is to have the ball hit the ground in the opponents’ area to accumulate points. First team to gain 25 points, provided that they lead by at least 2 points, win a set. The first team to reach three sets wins the game.
Any part of the body can be used to serve the ball into play – the only rule being that the serve must be creative.
Within the game, there are two ways to keep the ball moving: by using either the volleyball technique or the football technique.
Players can touch the ball once using their arms and hands (the volley ball technique) or twice using with any other body part (the football technique). Overall, a team are permitted to make a maximum five touches while in possession of the ball.
This sets up an exciting environment where players can show off their gymnastic abilities in gravity defying fashions.
Bossaball matches are overseen by ‘samba referees’. Not only do they officiate the match, they also act as the master of ceremonies, working the mic and decks to keep the music flowing and the atmosphere alive.
Points are awarded by successfully sending the ball over the net and grounding it in the opponent’s area. 3 points are awarded for shots placed in the trampoline section while 1 point is awarded for hitting the ball in-bounds elsewhere on the court. An additional 2 points are gained if point is scored using the football technique.
If the ball is played out of bounds (outside of the inflatable area), 1 point is awarded to the opposition. The game continues as normal if the ball bounces off the ring bordering the trampoline (the bossa) or the net.
When a point is scored, the team must rotate positions clockwise so a different team member occupies the trampoline section.
Bossaball stems from Brazil, Spain and Belgium where it has found a healthy following. Its entertainment factor has seen the sport make a name for itself in the Netherlands, Mexico, Ecuador, the Middle East, Singapore and Kuwait. In its short history, the sport has made several tours of Europe to promote itself and has held a World Championship tournament.
The sport has flourish in the Netherlands where it has its own official league. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the UK.
However as international interest grows, especially in Europe, it cannot be long before we get our own giant inflatable bouncy castle to roll back the years on. But while we wait, here is a taste of what to expect: