Teqball has emerged as a ground-breaking sport that combines the finesse and skills of football with the precision and agility of table tennis. Requiring a curved Teqball table and football, the sport blends Table Tennis and FootVolley. Read on to find out about the sports’, so-far short but exciting history, its inspirations, growth, and rulebook!
Teqball may seem like the name of a sport played by an altered cyborg race of humans, but it’s in fact a rapidly growing sport in its own right, capturing the attention of players and fans alike. The innovative sport fuses Football with Table-Tennis and has taken the sporting world by storm since its inception in 2012.
The brainchild of Gábor Borsányi, a former professional football player, businessman György Gattyán and computer Scientist Viktor Huszár, Teqball was born out of a desire to create a training tool that would enhance football skills and technique.
It was so successful in its quest, it not only took off as a sport but just 4 years after its creation had Brazillian legend Ronaldinho as an ambassador for the fledgling sport. It’s not surprising that the personification of “Joga Bonito” himself would endorse a sport built around reflexes, touch, improvisation, creativity, and precision; given it mirrors the classic Brazillian re-mix of a well-known sport that many legendary players have deep-rooted ties to…
Futevolei or Footvolley(also known across Asia as Sepak takraw) is likely a huge inspiration for Teqball, with the same concepts of creativity, control, and improvisation integral to the sport. Ronaldinho grew up partaking in footvolley on Brazil’s golden beaches, harnessing his touch and developing a flair for the game. The sport is enthralling, attracting small crowds on public beaches, should the players be skilled enough.
In Brazil, it seems everyone is skillful enough, however. It’s hard to believe but this game is almost always being played somewhere along the beach, and even the most average-looking bloke, with a bit of weight behind him and advancing years seems to become a physics-defying footballing Jesus.
The way players keep the ball up doesn’t seem real and after watching your average Brazilians face off in a game of Footvolley, the reason behind the country producing so many exciting players becomes apparent, as skill and creativity are imbued in the culture. Even the most average Brazillian footballer could destroy some professional English players in the world of Footvolley.
In relation to Teqball, the sport of Footvolley is certainly a precursor to the table-based sport, many of the same skills are honed, but Teqball is played in a more confined space, making for faster-paced, more reactive gameplay. The table’s asymmetrical design, catering towards unpredictable deflections, and ball speed make the sport incredibly fast-paced.
Despite the intense gameplay and excitement the sport brings in fans and players, the game was never originally intended to take off as its own sport, with the 3 Hungarian founders aiming to simply develop a training “gauntlet” of sorts that would test a football player’s anticipation, intuition, creativity, control, reactions, and even flair.
The Origins of Teqball
The origins of Teqball can be traced back to Hungary, where Borsányi and Huszár first conceptualized the game. Drawing inspiration from their love for football and the challenges posed by unpredictable ball trajectories, they set out to create a platform allowing players to develop their skills in a controlled and competitive environment. Thus, the curved Teqball table was born.
In 2014, the first Teqball table prototype was developed, featuring a unique curved surface designed to simulate the unpredictable bounces experienced on the football field. As with many inventions, the founders quickly realized that despite their mission statement, the Teqball game and table might work best in a slightly different capacity than first thought…
Seeing the response to the product, and the combination of excitement and enjoyment of the game, the founders recognised its potential as a sport, and in 2017 made the decision to establish the Federation of International Teqball (FITEQ), as they aimed to promote and build support for the sport globally.
A Future Olympic Sport?
Unlike many similar cases, the creation of a sporting body was done with the utmost sincerity, as the founders genuinely intend to one day make their creation an Olympic sport. So much more than a marketing gimmick, FITEQ has played a crucial role in shaping the growth of Teqball. As the international governing body, it has worked tirelessly to develop standardized rules and regulations, organize official tournaments, and ensure fair competition.
This dedication and effort to establish the game as a sport has not gone unnoticed. Teqball has gained recognition from various sports organizations and has garnered support from football stars such as Ronaldinho and Neymar Jr, the game already gathering a cult following in Brazil.
This endorsement from some of Football’s biggest stars has translated to an international audience as well, as more and more football fans bow into this exciting new game. The sport is intrinsically more inclusive than typical football, as players with disabilities or amputees are hindered to a lesser degree than football, or even Foot Volley, with the game more focused on reflexes and intuition instead of mobility, though positioning is of course still important.
National Teqball associations have been established in numerous countries, further popularizing the sport and creating opportunities for players to compete at regional and international levels. The inclusion of Teqball in the 2021 Asian Beach Games and the 2019 African Beach Games has showcased its rising prominence in the sporting arena.
But, the true test of a sport based on an existing sport is whether it can attract audiences disconnecting from the original sport. Rugby was inspired by football, as William Webb Ellis picked up a football and ran with it in 1846 at Rugby school.
Whilst a simple act of playground hooliganism now, it was unlike anything ever seen in 1846, and despite being born from football, inspired waves of fans that had no prior connection to football. Teqball seems to be doing exactly that, as the limits of the game have already proven to extend beyond the footballing community.
The sport’s dynamic and entertaining nature has caught the attention of sports enthusiasts and casual players alike, leading to its incorporation into recreational activities, social events, and even fitness training programs. Its accessibility and versatility have made it a popular choice for individuals of all ages and skill levels.
Much like Table-Tennis, it could become a stalwart of recreational activities. As I was growing up schools, parks, and student accommodations across the country were all setting up permanent Table Tennis tables for casual use. Teqball is already establishing itself far quicker than Table-Tennis had in its first 10 years of existence.
There’s every possibility that in 10-20 years’ time, Teqball tables become just as common as Table-Tennis. The game requires even less equipment, just a football, and your own body. As a result, starting and learning is simple. Everything is intuitive, yet the game has an almost infinite skill ceiling. Improving within the sport is simply about understanding the ball and your body better.
Taken from the official Teqball handbook, here are the rules of the sport.
- Teqball can be played with balls used in football, with size five being official and recommended.
- Teqball can be played by two players (singles game) or by four players (doubles game).
- A Teqball match consists of best-of-three sets.
- Each set is played until a player/team reaches 12 points.
- Every player/team has two attempts to complete a successful service( just like serves in Tennis).
- The players/teams change service after each four points.
- It is forbidden to touch the ball with the same body part twice consecutively
- It is forbidden to return the ball with the same body part twice consecutively.
- Every player/team is allowed to return the ball with a maximum of 3 touches by any body part, except for the hands and arms.
- In doubles, a team has a maximum of 3 touches, however, the teammates must pass the ball at least once to each other.
- While playing, neither the table nor the opponent can be touched.
- In case of an edgeball, the rally shall be repeated.
The decision to offer no points for edgeball’s make for an incredibly fair game, with luck playing almost no part in the entire sport. Everyone who has played Table-Tennis has had the misfortune of suffering an impossible-to-return edge ball, which was completely unintentional. Teqball considers this as unfair and instead repeats the rally.
The game is made so much better through these sorts of rules, as every victory is entirely based on the winner’s skill, with no argument of luck of fortune about it.
Looking to the future, Teqball has set its sights on becoming an Olympic sport. The sport’s rapid growth, combined with its unique appeal and global reach, has positioned it as a strong contender for inclusion in future Olympic Games.
The Teqball community remains optimistic, fuelled by the belief that the sport’s evolution and continued development will eventually lead to Olympic recognition.
There’s no reason it couldn’t be soon too! If Table-Tennis can become a well-respected Olympic sport, that attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers, then I’d expect Teqball to do the same, as its unprecedented growth is already attracting the attention of international sporting organisations.
Where Can I play Teqball?
The sport is barely a decade old, there are plenty of ways to start your Teqball obsession.
You can hire a table for events (UK only)
You can see if your local 5-aside space has a table
Or if you’re outside of the UK/ want a competitive team to get involved with, you can look here at the international registry of Teqball clubs. The list is expanding every single day!