Throwball is a sport played by two teams of nine players on a court very similar to the layout of a volleyball court, but with larger dimensions. There is a neutral box one metre on either side of the centre line where the net is placed. The game is also very similar to volleyball, but instead of volleying the ball, players throw it over the net. The object of the opposing team is to catch the ball and quickly throw it back across the net. What makes the sport challenging is that a player must have contact with the ground while catching the ball with both hands. The catch must also be firm, which means the ball cannot move between the player’s hands. Two players in the team may not catch the ball at the same time and after a successful catch, the ball must be thrown within three seconds.
Players can jump in the air when attempting a throw, while the ball may not touch any body part other than the palm of the hand when the throw or catch is made. The game is played by both men and women. As with volleyball, credit can be given to the YMCA for taking the sport from its roots to a wider audience. It is believed throwball was first played in England and Australia before it was introduced to India in the 1940s where it was first played as a women’s sport. It is very popular across Asia with India as the nation that has adopted throwball the most.
Official rules were codified in 1955 and the first national championship in India was played in 1980. The sport required a governing body, and this was achieved through the formation of the International Throwball Federation (ITF) based in Bangalore, India. Through the great work of the federation, throwball is now played across several continents as it continues to develop as a popular team sport for everyone.