Last updated: 05:00 AM ET, Fri April 03 2015

5 International Sports to Try Out This Summer

Features & Advice | Cherese Weekes | April 03, 2015

5 International Sports to Try Out This Summer

Photo via Wikipedia

Summer brings out the sports junkie in many of us, especially those of us who have been trash-talking all winter and cannot wait to beat our opponents in friendly rounds of tennis or tackle football.  While these sports never get old, there are some that have not quite hit the mainstream in the U.S. That means you may have to ditch the baseball field for a cricket pitch or use your sea legs in order to bring you’re A-game to these five international sports.


In England, New Zealand, Australia and the countries of the West Indies, women shoot hoops a bit differently than they do in the U.S.  This game is called netball, in which two teams made up of seven players face off on a court with the common goal to shoot as many balls through the ring as possible. 

Although the movements of the game mimic those of basketball, it stands out with unique positions and rules that imply dribbling the ball is not allowed, the ball can only be held for three seconds when it is being passed, and it has to be released before the foot that was raised when the ball was caught touches the ground. Netball can be played indoors and outdoors, but why not catch some sun while crushing your opponent?


Thanks to England, once again verdant pastures and alleyways across the globe have played host to cricket matches since the 16th century. Like many games that require a bat and ball, the goal for the batsman is to hit the ball as far as possible to land a four or six or run to score points.  But to win the game is not that simple, with quirky jargon like “leg before wickets,” “bowler,” and “stumps” invented seemingly to trip up newcomers.

As two teams of 11 players hit the field, a coin is tossed to determine which will bat first.  With two batsman placed on each side of the cricket field, the bowler’s (thrower) mission is to get them out by hitting the wickets (wooden stumps placed on each side of the pitch) or if one of his teammates (fielders) catches the hit ball before it lands on the floor.  If the ball is hit at a reasonable distance, the two batsmen run up and down the field, landing at the wickets to accrue points. The game carries on until all of the batsmen are out, at which point the teams switch positions. 


Like most sports, korfball was solely created to be a fun activity for kids. But the game took an unconventional turn in the Netherlands when its Dutch inventor, Nico Broekhuysen, decided that each team should include both sexes. As a result, korfball stirred plenty of negative attention but over time it created a stance of equality that few sports have yet to accomplish.

Generally, two teams of eight either consisting of all women or four men and four women, congregate on a korfball court, but only players of the same sex can duel against each other.  And like basketball, the goal is to shoot the ball an elevated basket; however, korfball is also similar to netball since no dribbling is allowed, the ball must be passed once it is caught, and the player who is in possession of the ball can only move one foot while the other stays firmly planted on the ground when passing or shooting it.


What do you do when there’s a ban on football?  You create your own game that doesn’t violate the restrictions already placed on the sport. This was the bright idea of Octavio de Moraes when he invented footvolley in Brazil in 1965.

As its name suggests, footvolley incorporates the rules of football and volleyball by ditching the green field for sand. Typically, two teams of two players attempt to kick or head-butt the soccer-like ball over the net in order to score points. 


It may seem a bit strange to take your love for hockey underwater, but in England, Canada and in other parts of the world this aquatic sport is worth getting completely soaked.  Octopush emerged during the 1950s when divers were tired of the humdrum of swimming in pools; so with a few cautionary rules added, including being able to control one’s breathing while successfully maneuvering the puck and deciding when best to come up from air, it officially became a popular aerobic practice.

Each team can have up to 10 members but only six members of each team are allowed to be in the water for the match.  If you’re willing to ditch the ice skates, helmet and jersey for a snorkel and fins, octopush could be your new favorite activity.


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