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Frescobol - A Brazilian trend conquering Europe

It was around 1945 when Lian Pontes de Carvalho invented Frescobol on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Around 60 years later, the Brazilian trend spreads all over the world.

No matter where, people across the globe discover and start to play frescobol. Whether they call it “palas” in Spain, “Rachettoni” in Italy, “beachball” in Germany or “Matkot” in Israel, people love playing the beach bat and ball game on the beaches.

And the upcoming spirit for frescobol has a reason. Frescobol is one of the few sports where you do not have an opponent but a partner. It is about having an awesome rally with your game partner, helping and assisting him instead of smashing him down and trying to win as many points as possible. The whole game is about searching for the strengths of your mate rather than trying to find his weaknesses. Shining at a team level as opposed to winning the contest all alone. It is a game to achieve something together with new friends or old buddies. “You only have winners”, the Brazilians say. But what is even more important is that you don’t have any losers. That is the real reason that makes frescobol so special and popular.  

But how does frescobol actually work? Are there rules?

One of the main advantages of frescobol is that there isn’t a binding set of rules. There are so many different variants of playing this game that everybody can be satisfied. The main starting point is that you stand on the ground facing each other, approximately 5-10 meters away from each other, holding your frescobol racket in your hand. From this starting point the game variations set in.

It starts with the different balls you can choose from. Kids and beginners usually start with a ball built from foam material. For them, it is easier to succeed in playing and establish a rhythm of playing back-and-forth. The softer the ball, the slower the back-and-forth rhythm. Apart from that, a softer frescobol ball is easier to handle. Intermediate and professional players play with a rubber ball. In Israel, they play the game with a squash ball.

The harder balls facilitate a speedy game that is full of action. With these balls, the strokes need to be utterly precise to enable a rally. The power of concentration needs to be on the highest level. Professional frescobol players and enthusiasts hereby differentiate between playing offensive and defensive. The defensive player uses all his touch to defend the more aggressive and more powerful strikes of the attacking player. The attacker tries to attack as accurate as possible. After a few strokes, attacker and defender can change their roles.

It is around 9.500 kilometers away where they started to arrange real frescobol competitions in 1980.

And in fact, gifted players will have inconspicuous spectators by nature. It is the fast reflexes, the quick and impressive reactions or the acoustic tick-tock of the wooden beach bats that make it difficult not to follow the rally. It reminds beach goers to Wimbledon games they say. And their heads are whipping from left to right, from right to left. When you see the frescobol professionals smashing the ball back and forth, you may believe that the rallies last forever. The audience is amazed and impressed at the same time.

Who is frescobol for?

It is not like only the talented players are into this game. At a less intensive level, you see fathers playing with their children, you see old couples playing in the setting sun. On the basic level, parents try to teach their children the essential coordinative skills that are so important and so easy to learn at an early age. The older ones try to stay in shape instead of just relaxing in the sun. An astonishing fact is that you need most of your body muscles to play frescobol. So, it helps to stay fit and it is without any doubt a fun workout. You improve your power of concentration, your reflexes and your general level of fitness.

A factor that is crucial for the intensitiy of the game and one that you can easily influence is the distance between you and your partner. Frescobol beginners usually start close to each other until they got a nice touch and they feel comfortable in raising the distance in between. The pace of the game increases with better skills accordingly.

When starting with this sport it can be an advantage if you are experienced in other racket sports. Tennis, badminton, squash or ping-pong players usually improve their skills quickly. Like in all racket sports it helps to really keep focusing on the ball. You should never lose track of the back-and-forth-flying ball.

What do you need to play frescobol?

For playing frescobol you and your team mate need a frescobol racket and a ball. It is as simple as that.

The racket is usually either made out of wood or out of carbon fiber.

 

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