An introduction to strange sports at The University of Nottingham.

American Football

Basic rules

  • 11 v 11, 4 quarters of 15 minutes

  • 6 points for a touchdown, 1 point for a conversion kick after a touchdown, 3 points for a field goal

  • Ball more pointed and aerodynamic than a rugby ball to allow for long-distance forward passes

  • Objective for team to get ball into 10-yard area (‘endzone’) of a 100-yard field

  • Offence has four attempts (‘downs’) to advance the ball 10 yards, earning a fresh set of four if successful or turning the ball over to the other team if not

  • Ball is moved either by the quarterback throwing to a receiver or the running back carrying the ball, with a play ending when an unsuccessful pass hits the ground or when a ball-carrier is tackled

  • After a touchdown is scored, a kicker makes a short-range attempt for an extra point. During the game, the team can choose to use a down for a 3-point kicked field goal

Key skills necessary

  • Highly specialised positions

  • Brute strength (offensive and defensive linemen)

  • Agility and upper body strength (linebackers)

  • Speed, balance and hand-eye coordination (wide receivers, cornerbacks, safeties)

  • Explosive speed and power (running backs)

  • Throwing strength and accuracy, agility, intelligence, leadership (quarterbacks)

How to get involved

  • Training: University Park Sports Centre – Monday 7pm-9pm (film review). Tuesday 8:30pm-10pm (3G astro training). Thursday 8:30pm-10pm (3G astro training). Sunday 9am-12pm (3G astro training).

  • New to this year is a women’s flag football team, which is a non-contact version of American football

Pro to watch

  • Peyton Manning, Quarterback for Denver Broncos. Super Bowl Champion and four-time NFL MVP

Ratings

  • Fitness: 8/10

  • Chance of injury: 9/10

  • Fun: 7/10

 

Baseball

Basic rules

  • 9 v 9 (pitcher, catcher, 4 infielders, 3 outfielders), 9 innings of 3 outs with each team batting and fielding

  • Team that scores the most runs wins

  • Players take turns going up to home plate to try to hit a baseball thrown from the pitcher between the first and third base lines

  • Pitcher throws the ball over home plate and between the height of the batter’s knees and shoulders. If the ball crosses this area and is not hit, it is a strike. If it does not cross this area, it is a ball. If the batter swings and misses, it is a strike

  • “3 strikes, you’re out”

  • If a pitcher throws 4 balls before a batter hits the ball or gets 3 strikes, the batter automatically gets to go to first base (‘walk’)
  • Batters must touch all three bases on their way to touching home plate. If a ball is caught, or a player is tagged between bases, they are out

  • If a batter makes it all the way around to home plate, the team scores a run

  • After 3 outs, half of the inning is over, and the teams switch positions – the batting team takes the field to play defence, and vice versa. After both teams have had a chance to bat, an inning is completed

Key skills necessary

  • Hand-eye coordination for batting and catching

  • Arm strength and accuracy for batting and throwing

  • Speed and agility for fielding and running bases

How to get involved

Pro to watch

  • Miguel Cabrera, Third Baseman for Detroit Tigers. World Series Champion, MVP and Triple Crown winner

Ratings

  • Fitness: 4/10

  • Chance of injury: 8/10

  • Fun: 7/10

 

Dodgeball

Basic rules

  • 6 v 6, court divided by centre line

  • Aim to eliminate opponents by throwing an inflated rubber ball against their body without bouncing, or catching such an attempt from an opponent before the ball touches the ground

  • The latter also brings an eliminated teammate back into the game

  • The team that eliminates all opponents wins

Key skills necessary

  • Arm strength and accuracy for throwing

  • Hand-eye coordination for catching

  • Agility and flexibility for dodging thrown balls

  • Or, as Patches O’Houlihan advises, the 5 Ds of DODGEBALL: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge

How to get involved

Pro to watch

  • Colin Governski, player for the San Diego Crossfire. National Dodgeball League Champion

  • Peter LaFleur, fictional player for Average Joe’s Gymnasium

Ratings

  • Fitness: 6/10

  • Chance of injury: 5/10

  • Fun: 9/10

 

Futsal

Basic rules

  • Similar to football

  • 5 v 5, two halves of 20 minutes

  • Played indoors with a smaller, heavier ball

  • Smaller pitch with smaller square goals

  • No offside rule

  • Kick-ins instead of thrown-ins

  • 4-second rule for restarts

  • A clock that stops, with timeouts

Key skills necessary

  • Foot-eye coordination

  • Touch

  • Kicking accuracy

  • Stamina

  • Agility

  • Hand-eye coordination for goalkeepers

How to get involved

Pro to watch

  • Falcão, forward for Brazil & Intelli Orlândia. World Cup champion, Player of the World (not to be confused with the Colombia & Monaco striker)

Ratings

  • Fitness: 9/10

  • Chance of injury: 6/10

  • Fun: 8/10

Korfball

Basic rules

  • Similar to netball and basketball

  • 8 v 8 mixed-gender – 4 male and 4 female players per team

  • Able to score long-distance shots into a hoop – or ‘korf’ – as well as layup shots inside the arc after a give-and-go

  • Can only defend attackers of the same gender

  • Court consists of 2 large squares joined along the centre line, each square with a korf set in one third from the back line

  • 2 male and 2 female players in each section

  • A section starts the game in attack, the other in defence. Sections swap roles after 2 goals have been scored

Key skills necessary

  • Hand-eye coordination for catching and passing

  • Arm strength and accuracy for shooting

  • Vertical jump and agility for rebounding

How to get involved

  • Freshers’ Fair

  • Training: University Park Sports Centre – Monday & Tuesday 9pm-10:30pm. Wednesday 5pm-7pm

  • Email: [email protected]

Pro to watch

  • Mick Snel, player for Netherlands & TOP. Dutch Korfballeague Champion

Ratings

  • Fitness: 7/10

  • Chance of injury: 2/10

  • Fun: 6/10

Ultimate Frisbee

Basic rules

  • 7 v 7

  • Field is similar in size to a football pitch with the last 18 metres at either end of the field as ‘endzones’

  • A goal is scored when you throw the disc to a member of your team in the endzone your team is attacking

  • Players cannot run with the disc

  • When a player catches the disc they must come to a stop, so a team can therefore only move the disc upfield by throwing it from player to player

  • Defending team takes possession if the disc touches the ground or if they make an interception by catching the disc or knocking it to the ground in mid–flight

  • Non-contact — when contact between players does occur, it may be deemed a foul

  • First team to reach a previously decided number of goals, typically 15 or 17, wins

Key skills necessary

  • Hand-eye coordination for catching and throwing

  • Speed

  • Agility

How to get involved

  • Training: Thursday 6:30pm-Dark (grass outside Willoughby Hall). Friday 5pm-7pm (University Park Sports Centre)

  • Facebook: Fling – University of Nottingham Ultimate

  • Email: [email protected]

Pro to watch

  • Brodie Smith, player for the Indianapolis Alleycats. Two-time National Champion

Ratings

  • Fitness: 7/10

  • Chance of injury: 4/10

  • Fun: 8/10

 

John Mastrini

@honzamastrini

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