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Takraw

Updated on February 18, 2010
Takraw Bat and Ball
Takraw Bat and Ball

Takraw is a throw and catch game for 2 to 12 players, is played within or without defined boundaries. Each participant uses a lightweight bat with a cone-shaped "trap" and a curved tip, or extension, to maneuver a hollow plastic ball in such a manner that the opposing side cannot retrieve it. Speed and dexterity are needed to play the game well, but all ages can enjoy it in a strictly informal manner.

The game originated in Malaya, where players catch and pass a rattan ball, or takraw, with their feet. The use of a bat is an American invention. In the modern game, players use the bat to hook the ball in flight and then throw it.

The game may be played with a net and on, a badminton-size court, which is 44 feet (about 13 meters) long and 20 feet (6 meters) wide. The space between the two short service lines on the badminton court, however, is an out-of-bounds space in takraw. Players on each side may position themselves anywhere within the inbounds area.

One player, determined by toss, starts the game by throwing (serving) the ball over the net so that it hits inbounds on the opposite court. Any opponent may try to catch and return the ball or catch and pass it to a teammate who volleys it over the net. An out-of-bounds throw or a missed catch scores a point for the opponent. The side winning the point serves the next ball. Game is 21 points.

The game also may be played without a net or boundary lines. The players keep about 25 feet (7.6 meters) apart and a throw must be one that the receiver can reach with the bat without taking more than one step or leaving the ground with both feet before the ball hits the surface. In this version each ^atch scores one point, and a bad throw or failure to catch a proper throw results in loss of a point.

With practice a player learns how to let the ball strike the curve of the bat in order to trap it and then how to throw it accurately. The easiest way of throwing is by raising the bat overhead and, with a quick wrist snap, flipping the ball upward (out of the cone) and forward. To make a sidearm throw the player must keep the ball moving along the curved extension of the bat. The fastest throws are from shoulder height. However, in takraw, accuracy is more important than speed. To practice the techniques a player can throw the ball against a wall and try to catch it before it touches the ground.

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