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Guide to The World Games 2022 competitions, Part 2: Ball Sports and Artistic Sports

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With The World Games 2022 in Birmingham just days away, Alabama NewsCenter is providing snapshots of all the sports that will be played over the games’ 10 days of competitions. Today, we feature Ball Sports and Artistic Sports.

RELATED: Guide to The World Games 2022 competitions, Part 1: Trend Sports



Fistball is similar to volleyball. Two teams consisting of five players play on a court divided into two halves by a marked line and a net at a height of 2 meters for men and 1.9 meters for women. Each team’s aim is to strike the ball across the net in a way that the opponent fails to return. Each failed return by a team counts as a point for the opponent. A team can win by scoring 11 points (at a difference of at least 2 points). The winner of the game is the team that has won three or four sets (depending on the number of matches per day). The ball is struck with a player’s fist or arm, but never with open hand. After clearing the net, the ball may be contacted up to three times, with a bounce being permissible before each contact, but no repeat hits by any individual player are allowed within the three attempts.

  • Country of origin: Italy.
  • Also popular in: Austria, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland.
Fistball is similar to volleyball, but the ball may never be struck with an open hand. (Bartek Sadowski / The World Games)


Flag Football is a team sport like tackle football but with the use of flags to avoid contact. Competitors wear tightly fixed flag belts with sockets and two pop-flags on either side of their hips. The goal of the game is to advance the ball down the field by running it or passing it to score a touchdown by crossing the opponent’s goal line. Teams score 6 points for a touchdown and, after a touchdown, can gain an extra 1 or 2 points for a set play from 5- or 10-yard lines. Teams have four series of downs to cross the midfield line to keep possession and earn a new set of four downs. If they do not, they have to surrender possession of the ball to their opponent, which starts at its own 5-yard line. The play ends when the ball carrier‘s flag is removed, the carrier goes out of bounds or a forward pass hits the ground. The team with the higher score at the end of the game is the winner. Games are split into two halves of 20 minutes and teams are composed of 15 players each (five on the field, 10 as substitutes). Teams compete on a rectangular 25-by-50-yard field, with an additional 10-yard end zone.

  • Country of origin: United States.


Floorball is a type of floor hockey in which two teams maneuver a ball into the opponent’s goal using a stick. There are five players and a goalkeeper on each team. Checking is prohibited, but controlled shoulder-to-shoulder contact is allowed. Pushing players without the ball or competing for a loose ball is not allowed. Players cannot lift an opponent’s stick or perform any stick infractions to reach the ball. Players may not raise their stick or play the ball above the knee level, and a stick cannot be placed between a player’s legs. Players cannot touch the ball with their hands or head. While it is permissible to foot-pass the ball to a teammate, a player cannot kick the ball twice in a row.

  • Country of origin: United States.
  • Also popular in: European countries.
Floorball is a form of floor hockey in which the ball cannot be played above the knee level. (contributed)


Beach Handball is a team sport played on sand where players pass, bounce or roll a ball, trying to throw it in the goal of the opposing team. Each team features three standard players and a goalie or specialist on each side. During defensive possessions, teams are made up of three defenders and one goalie. However, on offense, three different players sub in and the extra spot the goalie filled on defense is filled by the specialist on offense. Games are split into two 10-minute halves that serve as individual games within the overall match. Each match is a best-out-of-two scenario. The goal is to win both halves to secure the victory; however, if each team wins one game, then the game goes into a sudden-death shootout. The score system is based on a 1- or 2-point structure. A goal scored by any of the players, excluding the specialist or goalie, is worth 1 point. There are three ways for a goal to be worth 2 points. The first is an “alley-oop,” which involves the ball being passed to a teammate who catches and shoots the ball without their feet touching the ground. The second is the goalie or specialist scoring a goal. If he or she scores – no matter how – it is an automatic 2 points. The third way is by making a “spectacular” or 360-degree shot. As these names imply, these types of goals involve the offensive player doing an acrobatic aerial maneuver, spinning the body around in a 360-degree turn and hitting the ball.

  • Country of origin: Italy.
  • Also popular in: Australia, Brazil, Croatia, United States.
Goals in Beach Handball are worth one or two points, depending on how they are accomplished. (contributed)


Korfball is similar to basketball and netball. A team consists of eight players: four women and four men. The object of the game is to throw the ball into a bottomless basket mounted on an 11.5-foot pole. Each team has four players in each half (zone) of the court, and they cannot switch zones during game play. Once two goals have been scored, the teams change zones, with offense becoming defense, and vice versa. Players move the ball upcourt by passing the ball to one another. Once a ball is caught, a player may not dribble, walk or run with it, but can pivot with one foot remaining on the ground. Tackling, blocking, holding or kicking the ball is not allowed.

  • Country of origin: Netherlands.
  • Also popular in: Belgium, Taiwan.
Korfball, which is similar to basketball, originated in the Netherlands. (Bartek Sadowski / The World Games)


Lacrosse is a team sport played with a stick and a ball. The purpose of each team is to score by causing the ball to enter the goal of its opponent and to prevent the other team from securing the ball and scoring. The ball is kept in play by being carried, thrown or batted with the stick, or rolled or kicked in any direction. It is illegal for an opponent to bodycheck another player, and “slashing” of an opponent’s stick with deliberate viciousness results in a foul.

The World Games 2022 will feature six-versus-six Lacrosse, which is played by two teams of six players on a field 70-meters long by 36-meters wide. Games are four quarters of eight minutes in length, with a 30-second shot clock used upon each team’s possession. A tied score at the end of regulation leads to four-minute periods until a goal is scored to determine the winner.

  • Country of origin: United States.
  • Also popular in: Canada.
Lacrosse, which originated in the United States, is one of The World Games’ better-known ball sports for Americans in the audience. (contributed)


Racquetball is played with a hollow rubber ball. The court walls, floor and ceiling are legal playing surfaces. As play begins, the serving player must bounce the ball on the floor once and hit it directly to the front wall, ensuring that the ball hits the floor beyond the short line. The ball may touch one side wall – but not two – prior to hitting the floor. After the ball bounces behind the short line or passes the receiving line, the ball is in play. Players alternate hitting the ball against the front wall. The player returning the hit may allow the ball to bounce once on the floor or hit the ball on the fly. However, once the player returning the shot has hit the ball, it must strike the front wall before striking the floor. Unlike the serve, a ball in play may touch as many walls – including the ceiling – as necessary, so long as it reaches the front wall without striking the floor. If the server wins the rally, then the server scores 1 point and continues to serve. If the opposing player wins the rally, then no point is scored, but that player will take over serving. A match is won by the first side winning two games.

  • Country of origin: United States.
  • Also popular in: Bolivia, Mexico.


Softball, a variation of baseball, is a team sport. Each team has nine players, and the game takes place over seven innings. Typically, the game moves at a faster pace than baseball. During each inning, the teams will take turns batting, then occupying the field. Each base is 60 feet apart and the entire infield is made of dirt. The object of the game is to score more runs (points) than the other team by batting (hitting) a ball into play and running around the bases, touching each one in succession. In each inning, a team bats until three batters have been declared out.

Country of origin: United States.

Also popular in: Australia, China, Europe, Japan, New Zealand.


Squash is a racquet sport played with a hollow rubber ball. There are many lines on a squash court. The first line is an out line that runs across the top of the back wall and down the side wall. Any ball hitting outside this area is deemed out and a point is awarded to the opponent. A board running along the bottom of the back wall serves as the “net.” If the ball hits into the board, it is deemed a foul. Three feet above the board is the service line. All serves must hit above this line to be considered a legitimate serve. The back of the court is split into two rectangular sections where a player must start before each point. A service box is in each section and a player is required to have at least one foot inside while serving or waiting to receive the serve. The serving player starts the first rally by electing to serve from either the left or right service box. The ball must strike the front wall above the service line and below the out line, and land in the opposite back quarter court. After the serve, the players take turns hitting the ball against the front wall. The ball may strike the side or back walls at any time, as long as it hits below the out line. It must not hit the floor after making contact with the racket. A ball landing on either the out line or the line along the top of the board is considered out. After the ball hits the front wall, it is allowed to bounce once on the floor (and any number of times against the side or back walls) before a player must return it. Players may move anywhere around the court. If the server wins the point, the two players switch sides for the following point. A match is the best of five games.

  • Country of origin: England.
  • Also popular in: Australia, Egypt, Pakistan, United States.
Squash originated in England. Its popularity has spread around the globe. (contributed)


Wheelchair rugby is an adapted team sport. Players are classified according to their functional level and assigned a point value ranging from 0.5 to 3.5. All players on the court for a team cannot exceed 8 points. Physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game; however, direct physical contact between players is not permitted. To play the sport, players use custom-made wheelchairs designed for wheelchair rugby and use a regulation volleyball. Only four players from each team may be on the court at any time. The event is played on an indoor hardwood court of the same measurements as a regulation basketball court. The required court markings are a center line and circle, along with a key area at each end of the court. The goal line is positioned at the end line within the key. During the event, players pass the ball up the court and score by carrying the ball across the goal line, ensuring that two wheels of the player’s wheelchair cross the line. A player with possession of the ball must bounce or pass the ball within 10 seconds. Teams have 12 seconds to advance the ball from their backcourt into the front court, and a total of 40 seconds to score a point or concede possession.

  • Country of origin: Canada.
  • Also popular in: Australia, United States.
Wheelchair rugby is played on a hardwood court with the same measurements as a regulation basketball court. (Lexi Branta Coon)



DanceSport was once referred to as competitive ballroom dancing. Its characteristics consist of physical strength, agility, coordination, stamina, a high level of fitness, discipline, teamwork, grace, style and musical interpretation. Four disciplines of DanceSport are offered in The World Games: Latin, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Standard and Breaking. Each of these dances is performed to the prescribed music and tempo by dancers demonstrating not only proper technique, but also poise, power, floor craft and other criteria that reflect the quality of their dancing.


In Latin, there are five dances: Samba, Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. With their heritage in Latin American (Samba, Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba), Hispanic (Paso Doble) and American (Jive) cultures, they each have their distinguishing traits but are similar in expressiveness, intensity and energy.

Latin is one of four categories of DanceSport in The World Games, and it encompasses five styles of dancing. (contributed)


In Standard, there are five dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep. They are generally danced in a closed position of the partners.

Rock’n’Roll is a very fast, acrobatic and physically demanding DanceSport competition. (contributed)

Rock ’n’ Roll

Rock ’n’ Roll is a very athletic, competitive form of dance that originated from the Lindy Hop. This is a very fast and physically demanding dance. The main features of Rock ’n’ Roll dance are its kicks and acrobatic elements such as lifts, jumps, throws and flips.


Breaking, also called breakdancing, is an athletic style of street dance. Breaking mainly consists of four kinds of movement: toprock, downrock, power moves and freezes. Breaking is typically set to songs containing drum breaks, especially in hip-hop, funk, soul and breakbeat music.

  • Country of origin: England.
  • Also popular in: Germany, France, Italy, Russia.


In Gymnastics, the athletes are judged on execution of the choreography and presentation. In the finals, each pair/group performs one single exercise that includes both balance and dynamic elements. The World Games features five disciplines of Gymnastics.


Aerobic is the ability to perform continuous complex and high-intensity movement patterns to music. This sport originated from traditional aerobic exercises, as the routine must demonstrate continuous movement, flexibility, strength and the utilization of the seven basic steps. The winning routine must show clean and balanced movements with perfect technique. The routine should include at least one element from the four element families that present dynamic strength, static strength, jumps/leaps and flexibility/balance. Overall, the routine features a maximum of 12 elements. The competitor must demonstrate combinations of aerobic movement patterns with arms and feet, including the seven basic aerobic steps: March, Jog, Skip, Knee Lift, Kick, Jack and Lunge. Gymnastic elements like saltos or handstands are prohibited.


Rhythmic Gymnastics is practiced exclusively by women. This discipline includes five apparatus: Rope, Hoop, Ball, Clubs and Ribbon. However, only four of these are used in a competition cycle. In competition, individual gymnasts present four exercises corresponding to the four authorized apparatus. The apparatus must remain in motion for the duration of the exercise. Movements must vary in form, magnitude, direction, level and speed. The apparatus must be handled in a variety of ways and may not be used as a decorative accessory. There must be an ongoing relationship between the gymnast and the apparatus. The composition of an exercise is based on certain basic body group movements (leaps, pivots, balance and flexibility) as well as technical groups.

In Rhythmic Gymnastics, the gymnast must keep an apparatus such as a hoop in motion during the duration of the exercise and must not use it for mere decoration. (contributed)


Parkour is a training discipline using movement. Athletes aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Moves include running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling, crawling and others deemed suitable for the situation. The World Games 2022 will feature the Speed event, where athletes must overcome obstacles as quickly as possible to reach the finish line in the quickest time.


Trampoline involves athletes performing acrobatics while bouncing on a trampoline. The double mini trampoline is smaller than a regular competition trampoline. The gymnasts run, jump onto the sloping end, jump onto a flat plateau, then dismount onto a mat. Skills are performed during the jumps or during the dismount. The form and difficulty are judged in a similar manner as trampolining, but there are additional deductions for failing to land cleanly or landing outside a designated area on the mat.

Athletes vault far into the air in Trampoline Gymnastics. (contributed)


Tumbling is characterized by the complex, swift and rhythmical succession of acrobatic jumps from hands to feet, feet to hands or feet directly back onto feet in a matter of six seconds and on a 25-meter track. Tumbling is a colorful sport that offers spectacular elements such as speed, rhythm and twists. A routine includes eight skills, with the final skill requiring athletes to land on a landing mat (placed at the end of the tumbling track). Each routine is valuated in execution and difficulty.

  • Countries of origin: Greece (Aerobic, Rhythmic, Trampoline and Tumbling); France (Parkour).

For schedules and ticket information for all sports featured in The World Games 2022, click here.

A version of this story previously was published by The Birmingham Times.

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