How to Play Basque Ball

Have you ever heard of the Basque ball? Basque pilot is one of the most traditional sports in the Basque Country. Today he has thousands of followers both outside and inside Spain.

In this article we want to show you how to play Basque ball and some of the curiosities and peculiarities of this game. Let’s get started!

How to play Basque ball. A little history

Basque pilot, despite its name, is a universal game with hundreds of years of tradition. Over the centuries, the Basque Country has been able to preserve this tradition from other civilizations and add its own touch to it. This has meant the creation of new modalities, the regularization of the rules or the creation of a particular team for this discipline.

It seems that this well-known sport in Spain comes from France. The first documents that speak about the Basque ball come from the 13th century. These documents speak of two variants:

  • The one with short palm or courted pause. This sport was well known among the nobility and the clergy.
  • The one with the long palm or lounge pause. This variety of Basque pilot was practiced by the rest of the town in large fields.

However, there are many civilizations throughout the world that have practiced different varieties of ball sports. Many of these games were competed individually and on large open fields. These activities became a real personal challenge for the players and excellent entertainment. Some of the first variants of ball games began to be practiced in South America, the Middle East or Western Europe. And it is precisely from these variants that the Basque ball drinks.

We will have to wait for the appearance of the Roman Empire for the game called stack to reach French territory. This game evolved into the Jehu de Pauma, or palm game. Although the vulgar used their own hand to hit the ball, the bourgeois little by little began to include other objects. For example, gloves or rackets. The palm game is therefore one of the first known racket games.

From the twelfth century there begins to be more documentation on the expansion of this ball game. Little by little, this activity spread among the clergy, the nobility, who had their own courts or ratchets. It will be from this moment when this sport, so similar to the current Basque ball, begins to be traced in different French documents.

Although it is a sport with a long tradition in France and Spain, Basque pilot is also practiced in other places. For example in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, the United States or the Philippines.

What rules does the Basque ball have?

First of all, we would like to explain that the athlete who practices this exercise is known as a pilot player. In order to play Basque pilot it is necessary to have at least two players or two teams.

The game consists of hitting the ball in turns against the “fronts” or wall, in order to score. The playing area, known as a fronton, is a court with a high wall. This sport lacks a net dividing the fields as in tennis. It is played by hitting the ball with your hand and against the wall, so it does not require that type of separation. There is also a variety of this type of court known as a ratchet. It is a closed court with a side canopy.

Now that you have some knowledge about this sport, it is time to learn how to play Basque ball. We hope you enjoy the article.

What do you need to play Basque ball?

  • Read the next article
  • Become a ballplayer for a day
  • Access one of the modalities or tracks to be able to play
  • have fun

Instructions for playing Basque ball

  1. It is a sport with different specialties, such as the Punta basket or the short shovel. Today hand ball is the best known and the most played in the Basque Country. Unlike other specialties, Basque ball is played directly with the protected hand. No type of paddle or racket is used to make the play. In the tip basket or in the short shovel they are used.
  2. To practice the Basque ball it is necessary to use a 36 meter pediment. To play the most traditional Basque ball, the most classic, a short pediment 36 meters long and 10 meters wide is used. The characteristics of this type of court are simple. It is made up of fronts (name given to the front wall), a left wall and a back wall also known as rebound. This last wall may or may not be present. It is not necessary to play Basque ball. In addition, the field has some lines that delimit from where you have to serve to play Basque ball. In total there are about seven squares that delimit the field. The first about four meters from the pediment and the last about twenty-eight. Matches in pairs or individual matches are played on this field. In case of playing in pairs, the objective of the game is to achieve, through throws, that the opponent or peltry is not able to answer the shot. In this way, if the opponent is unable to respond, the other player scores a total of 22 points.
  3. Official competitions are played to 22 goals. Whether it’s Basque pilot in pairs or individually. The rest of the matches, if they are friendlies, can be set with another number of goals.
  4. The game itself is simple but requires a lot of practice to master. The player or peltry must start the game by voting the ball and giving it with his hand to direct it towards the fronts. The idea is that the ball goes as far as possible and with a somewhat complicated path so that the opponent has difficulty picking it up.
  5. To make a serve in Basque ball, the usual thing is to do it from square four. This painting is positioned about fourteen meters from the frontispiece. Before taking out the ballplayer, he has to vote the ball and throw it. You have to vote the ball between those fourteen meters and the seventh box, which is positioned around twenty-eight meters from the field. In this first throw and in the rest you have to throw the ball against the fronts as hard as possible and tracing a difficult direction so that the rival ballplayer cannot answer it. One way to make the shot more difficult for the opponent is to make the other player run towards the left wall or have to get very close to the fronton to hit tithe trick is to look for the gaps in which the opponent is not to facilitate the goal.
  6. There are many plays with which to finish the goal. Apart from the longshot towards the rebound, which is the most classic shot used by a ball player to finish his goals, there is also the drop This type of shot is not given with an open palm, but rather the palm shrinks a little to give the ball some spin. With this move, the peltry manages to keep the ball very close to the fronts. This blow is presented in this way with the intention that the opponent does not have time to reach the fronts to return it and continue the play. The play with two walls is also very classic. This move consists of hitting the left wall first and then the front wall. In this way the ball goes very fast towards the width and the opponent has a lot of difficulty in being able to answer it.
  7. Although in the past Basque ball had a very advanced technical level,today power technique prevails over in the game. In this way Basque ball, or hand ball, has become a very physical sport where power is essential to win.
  8. The balls are characterized by being very hard. One of the best known features of this type of ball is that they are almost like stones. They weigh between 101 and 107 grams.

Tips for playing Basque ball

Did you know that there are different modalities or types of court to practice Basque ball? The main ones are undoubtedly the following:

  • Short fronton of 30 meters. This court has a front wall or fronts, a left wall, a back wall known as rebound and the ground. The ground is called a court. In this mode the length of the track is 30 meters and the height and width of 10 meters. Within the short pediment you can practice racquetball and the Argentine rubber paddle. Both male and female variants.
  • Short fronton of 36 meters. The technical characteristics of this court are identical to those of the short 30 meter fronton. The only exception is that the length of the track is 36 meters instead of 30. In this type of modality you can practice individual hand, hand in pairs, solid rubber paddle, leather paddle and short paddle. All in their masculine modalities.
  • Long pediment of 56 meters. Also known as Jai Alai, its technical characteristics are identical to those of the two previous frontons, but with a length of 56 meters. The following specialties are played on this type of court: Punta basket, remote and long shovel. All of them in their masculine version.
  • Ratchet. The following specialties are played on this type of court: single hand, pairs hand, leather paddle, rubber paddle, are (all male) and solid rubber paddle.

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