The Roundnet, a children’s game that has become popular with great athletes

(AFP) – Bouncing circular net, ball, two teams of players, and the match continues! The round net, also called the spikeball, is the warm-up of choice for many top athletes. It has even become a sport in its own right.

In a room in Saint-Denis, near Paris, between four transparent walls, Olympic medalists enjoy kicking the ball with one hand to make it bounce on a small circular net surrounded by yellow and placed less than a meter from the ground. The game comes alive, and players have a great time in this particularly active practice.

Pauline Ranvier, the vice Olympic champion for the French team at last summer’s Tokyo Games, is addicted to Roundnet, an outdoor sport trying to find a place indoors with Urban Roundnet, which is based in Saint-Denis.

“There’s a lot of tactics, you have to play between strength and skill, and that brings us a lot of things, for us fencers: the moves, we go to look far, we run, so it’s really cool and we found himself there,” Pauline Ranvier, who has been practicing for four years, told the agency. AFP, even girls who didn’t like them very much at first, love them now!”.

The round net was invented in 1989 as a beach game, then faced desert crossing before being completely relaunched in 2008 by American Chris Ruder. But the game wasn’t released until 2015 after it was noticed on an episode of the American reality show (Shark Tank).

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– From the NBA to English football –
In the following years, many videos circulated on social networks showing high-ranking athletes training with the round networks, such as basketball players from the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise or players from English football club Crystal Palace.

In France, female fencing champions have highlighted training with entries from their training sessions during the 2020 Olympics.

“The sport arrived in 2015-2016 in France, and there has been an exponential rise for 2-3 years. Finally, Covid helped a lot with this sport because it doesn’t require much fixation and it was one of the ones that helped me a lot,” said Jean-Roman Saintes, AFP president and co-founder. For Urban Roundnet, the practices we can do outdoors while in confinement. It’s a mixed sport, accessible and easy to understand. We play everywhere.”

“It’s a good warm-up, sometimes you can make the game very hard, very strong, with strength and very fast balls, but you can also make a short ball, which is very interesting. As for the fencing, you have to watch Cheung Ka Long, a Hong Kong fencer, told AFP. Press.

– ‘Mainstream’ sport in the making –
The 2020 Olympic champion, who came to Paris for a competition in December and has since been “stuck” due to his country’s imposed quarantine, is using his long stay in France to practice the Roundnet in private.

This practice has gone through a major milestone with the creation of the International Round Network Federation (IRF) – the outdoors – which will stage its first worlds in September in Belgium. In France, the National Union was born in 2020 led by Louis Gauff, a player alongside his brother Thomas.

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“The first time you play, it’s a blast! All the great athletes try to have fun right away and incorporate it into their routines,” Louis Gauffe assures AFP.

According to him, there will be 200,000 players in France. “The first time I played it in 2015, nobody knew. Today 80% of people have heard of it. It’s going to +sports+mainstream+(public)”, he imagines.

Tess Larson

<p class="sign">"Tv geek. Certified beer fanatic. Extreme zombie fan. Web aficionado. Food nerd. Coffee junkie."</p>

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