Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Seatball / Sitzball

Seatball is a team sport for disabled and non-disabled athletes, based on regular indoor volleyball, though the players are sitting and the net is much lower. It is also called Sitball or Sitzball (in Germany). Sitz is the German word of 'seat'. The sport was developed after the second world war, particularly to cater for leg amputees disabled by the war.

Seatball is very similar to sitting volleyball, a Paralympic sport. In both sports the players remain seated on the ground while hitting a ball over a net, though seatball is played on a larger court and allows for the ball to bounce once between touches. The matches are played for two 17 minute halves, unlike in volleyball where the games are played for a certain number of points.

The ball can be touched a maximum of three times before entering the opposing field, and must bounce on the ground at least once between touches. The ball must be hit with the palm of the hand - it cannot be hit with a fist.

The sport is played by two teams of five players in each team. Although many of the players are disabled, leg and arm prostheses may not be worn during the game. The court is rectangular in shape, 10 x 8 meters, divided in the center by a net one meter high. A regulation volleyball is used.

Seatball is popular in Germany and in many African countries. There has been an annual German men's championships since 1954, for women since 1974. European seatball tournaments have been played since the 1970s. There are about 150 clubs playing Sitzball in Germany. The first Seatball World Cup took place in November 2006 in Kigali, Rwanda. Participating teams came from Germany, Switzerland, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

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