Like most people, I found it pretty tough not being able to see my friends and family during the lockdown. So, it was welcome news when socially distanced meet ups were allowed.
But this came with its own challenges – what activities could we do that were fun and inclusive while being outside and keeping 2m apart? For my friends and I, swingball was the answer!
What is swingballdon?
Swingball is a game that has two players hitting a ball tied to a rope attached to a pole. The way the game is played forces people to keep 2m apart. As you can only play one person at a time, it seems like a perfect activity for small groups.
One sunny Saturday we played a few games in a local park; releasing 8 weeks of pent up energy on a tennis ball was such good fun that we decided to tell other people about it. And that’s how Swingballdon was born!
When is it happening?
Taking place from 29 June – 12 July (when Wimbledon 2020 would have been held), Swingballdon is about challenging your friends and families to games of swingball with the chance to become Swingballdon champion!
While there is a competition format, it’s about getting outside, getting active and having fun!
How to play?
In line with the latest social distancing guidance, Swingballdon has mini-competitions made up of a maximum of 6 people. This could be your friends or mums, dads, brothers, and sisters. Each mini competition is a round robin, so everyone gets to play each other. If you win a game you score a point, but you score nothing for a loss.
The Swingballdon champion is the player with the most points at the end of Swingballdon fortnight – a final can be played if players are on equal points after the round robin.
All matches must have been played during Swingballdon fortnight. However, there are no rules about when you do these; all the matches could be played in one day, or you could spread them out across the two weeks.
Swingballdon rules and social distancing
In swingball, the ball travels up or down a metal coil depending on which way the players hit it. A point is scored when the ball reaches the top or bottom of the coil. Matches are best of 5 points.
Due to social distancing, Swingballdon involves some additional rules to make sure everyone stays safe:
- Before and after each game, bats should be thoroughly cleaned with anti-bacterial spray or wipes, as well as the string (particularly the plastic sheath above the ball).
- All matches should be played with the string extended to its maximum length so players remain 2m apart at all times.
- Using some kind of marker, a ‘halfway line’ should be created before you start your match. Players must stay in their half to ensure social distancing.
- Before each match, a player tosses a coin. Whoever wins the toss can choose to either serve for the entire match or pick the direction they play (e.g. forehand or backhand). This ensures that only one person touches the string to serve for the entire match.
- In order to serve, the server can only touch the string by the plastic sheath that sits above the ball (as this can be easily cleaned between matches). If playing with a set without this plastic sheath, participants are encouraged to put some non-absorbent tape over the string just above the ball to create an area that can be handled and cleaned.
- The set should only be assembled and handled by the person who owns it. This person should take responsibility for making sure it is cleaned as above.
- Players should wash/sanitise their hands straight after playing and all government social distancing guidance should be followed.
Don’t forget the strawberries and cream!
More than anything, Swingballdon is about getting outside, being active and enjoying the summer in a safe way. Swingballdon only has to be as competitive as you want to make it.
What’s more, enjoying strawberries and cream after a match is most definitely within the spirit of the competition!
Let’s get Swingballdon trending
We would love to make Swingballdon a big thing this summer.
Please help us spread the word by sharing photos and videos of your matches, strawberries and cream, etc. on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok using the hashtags:
#Swingballdon #Swingball #WeCanMove
If you have any questions on the game, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swingballdon 2020 – IT IS ON!