This sport was invented in the 1930s by Włodzimierz Robakowski, Polish PE teacher.

Robakowski was watching fishermen, playing on the Mazurian Lakes (the biggest complex of lakes in Poland). They were throwing buoys through broken, leaking nets, which were no longer used for fishing. Inspired by this, he decided to check how to throw the ball through a similar net.

This Polish teacher already knew volleyball, which was founded in the late 19th century in the United States by another teacher – William Henry Morgan – as a part of physical education in local schools. Robakowski used a net in which he cut out three holes, resembling those ones from the fishing nets. The experiment with throwing a ball through them was successful and he decided to create a sport that he called “ringnetball“. The first part of this name comes from the holes in the net which resembles rings.

How to play this sport?

Ringnetball consists in throwing the ball with two hands through three holes (rings) in the net. The middle one is the largest (diameter 70cm) and two side ones 50 cm each.

There are usually 4 players on each side of the court. Three of them are in the back (behind a line 1.5 meters from the net). Their task is to catch the ball and pass it to the other players of their team or throw through the holes in the net. The fourth player is the playmaker. He or she stands in the 1.5-meter zone closest to the net. His or her task is only to pass the ball to other players of his/her team. He/she cannot throw it through the holes or block them with his/her own body.

After each action, there is a rotation of players – they change their positions so as everybody could serve, be a playmaker and throw the ball through all the holes.

The game begins with a serve from the end line of the court. The server hits the ball above the net, like in volleyball. Then, however, the opposing team has to catch it and either pass or throw the ball through one of the holes.

You usually play best of 3 or best of 5 sets up to 15, 21 or 25 points each (except for tie-breaks up to 15 points). Of course, it can be easily changed depending on the needs.

People with disabilities can also play it, what was proven by the Sports and Rehabilitation Association START from Poznańthanks to the implementation of the EU Erasmus + Sport project entitled Activation and integration of people with disabilities through adapted traditional games.

People with disabilities (including those in wheelchairs) were playing Ringnetball and the other, traditional games together with the able-bodied thanks to the adaptations of these sports to their needs. It was a successful initiative, implemented not only in Poland, but also in the Project’s Partner countries (Turkey, Bulgaria and Macedonia).

The elderly can also play this sport which I have proven, by running the successful, practical activities for the students of the University of the Third Age at the Vistula University in Warsaw.

Since its revival, Ringnetball has been increasingly presented at important sporting events around the world, including. among others:

  • World Sport for All Games,
  • European Sport for All Games,
  • European Week of SportThis Polish sport was shown by our team during the first edition of the European Sport for All Games in Friesland (the Netherlands) in 2018.Author: Bartosz Prabucki; IRSiE (https://inspirowanysportem.pl/)

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