By: Hannah Sanborn
Bossaball, teqball, polocrosse, and pickleball. What do these unique activities all have in common? All four offer distinctive combinations of multiple other sports, more commonly known as hybrid sports.
Created in Spain in 2004, the sport has garnered international praise with countries like Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Ecuador, and Saudi Arabia all having very successful Bossaball teams.
While international competitions are limited, teams from respected countries travel the world to try and raise awareness of the sport, and recruit more players and fans.
The game's objective is to send a soccer ball flying over the net to the opposing team's side, combining elements of volleyball spikes and soccer volleys, all while maintaining a unique emphasis on music and dance.
With teams of up to four players on each side, BossaBall is not only a test of physical ability but it also demands a sense of rhythm and coordination.
Also taking an element from soccer, Teqball is another twist on a traditional ball game. Played on a curved ping-pong table, this game is a fast-paced activity that was founded in Budapest, Hungary in 2014. Teqball made its way to the United States officially in 2019, and players are looking to make it an Olympic sport by 2028.
The objective is simple yet challenging: players use any part of their body except their hands and arms to return a soccer ball to the opponent's side of the table, much like a ping-pong rally. The curved design of the table adds dimension, creating unpredictable bounces and spins, demanding lots of ball control from players.
A vibrant equestrian sport, Polocrosse combines elements of polo and lacrosse into a fast-paced game played on horseback. Originating in Australia in the late 1930s, Polocrosse has since gained popularity globally, with thriving communities in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.
Teams, each consisting of three players, maneuver across a large field, wielding racquets with a net that is used to carry and propel a rubber ball. The objective is to score goals by throwing the ball through the opposing team's goalposts.
While the sport demands excellent horsemanship and riding skills, it also emphasizes strategy, teamwork, and precise ball handling.
The most popular hybrid sport that many are already familiar with is Pickleball. This ping-pong, tennis, and badminton hybrid is the fastest-growing sport in the United States. Pickleball now has 4.8 million participants nationwide and it has had a 39.3% growth rate over the last two years.
Pickleball was created in 1965 in Washington, by neighbors Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. By 1984, the USA Pickleball Association managed the sport.
This sport is played on a compact court with a lowered net with a wiffle ball and paddles.
Typically played in doubles, the game commences with an underhand serve diagonally across the net, and the receiving team must let the ball bounce before returning. The rules are relatively simple and similar to most ball-net games.
The world of sports continues to evolve with the growth of these unique and captivating hybrid sports, which not only blend elements from traditional games but also bring together diverse cultures and communities in a shared pursuit of excitement and competition.