Weird Sports: The Top 31 Weirdest Competitions in the World

Sports and physical activities have an extremely long and complex history.

An example that dates back to the 7th century BCE is the Olympic Games in ancient Greece and Chinese Imperial Examinations.

Since ancient times, man has been creative and invented numerous sports activities to recreate himself and spend a pleasant time with friends and family.

Of course, some enjoyed more popularity, while others were classified as weird sports.

Weird Sports - Top Weirdest Competitions in the World
Image credit: WynWork

People continue even nowadays to develop weird sports. Some of them appear by chance, while others require more thought and designed rules to play.

In this article, we’ll explore all the weird sports from around the world that involve a ball.

Each sport is unique, having its own rules, challenges, and rewards. Get ready to choose your next sporty activity!

1. Pickleball

Pickleball was invented by Pritchard and Bell in 1965. They wanted to have fun with their families playing badminton, but not finding the shuttlecock, they started playing with what they had at hand.

Thus, this failure to play badminton led to the creation of today’s game of pickleball.

Including elements from other sports such as tennis, badminton, and ping pong, this sport is played on a field with hard paddles and a plastic ball with holes.

It can be played all over the United States as there are many Pickleball tournaments.

In 2021-2022 more than 4.8 million people played this sport, being entitled fastest growing sport in the United States for two years. This is not surprising, considering that it is supported by the world-known LeBron James.
Related video – Pickleball:

2. Paddleball

In 1930 when he was working at the university, the physical education instructor Earl Riskey thought that handling a ball with some wooden paddles would be a great sport. He contemplated the idea and added this new game to the university curriculum.

Paddleball can be played with two, three, and even four players.

There are many tournaments managed by the National Paddleball Association where you can demonstrate your talent.
Related video – Paddleball:

3. Racquetball

What if paddleball was played with a stringed racquet?

This was the thought of Joseph Sobek, the inventor of racquetball, in 1950. This sport enjoyed great popularity in the 1970s, even reaching 3.1 million players, but after that, it suffered a decline.

However, it still enjoys popularity with 5.6 million players, and sometimes, it is included in the World Games, which represent an event that considers sports not contested in the Olympic Games.

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT), the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), and the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) organize all kinds of tournaments for amateurs, professionals, and even internationally.
Related video – Racquetball:

4. Netball

Netball is a game that appeared from a mistake and ended up being played by more than 20 million people.

Wanting to explain and publish the rules of women’s basketball, physical education instructor Clara Bae misread the original rules of basketball, and unwittingly invented the rules for a new sport later called Netball. Also known as women’s basketball, this sport started to be played by women in England in 1890.

Today, netball is played in many countries around the world, and international tournaments are held regularly.

Related video – Netball:

5. Paddle tennis/ Pop tennis

Played by individuals or doubles, paddle tennis is the 1915 invention of Frank Peter Beal and Murray Geller.

After its creation, Geller further perfected the rules making the game more attractive. As a consequence, paddle tennis was played in more than 500 bones in America by 1941.

This sport is similar to tennis except that it is played with a shorter paddle and on a smaller court.

Paddle tennis was renamed pop tennis in 2015, and enjoys great popularity in many countries, but mainly in Dubai and Egypt.
Related video – Pop tennis:

6. Teqball

Teqball is a sport that involves the use of a soccer ball and a curved tennis table.

It was invented by a Hungarian soccer player named György Gattyán and his computer scientist friend Viktor Huszár. They came up with the idea of this sport in 2012, but they needed another two years to perfect the curved table.

This sport has an association called the International Federation of Teqball (FITEQ) and due to its popularity among soccer players, it is a promising candidate for Olympic Games inclusion. It is already part of the 2023 European Games and Asian Beach Games.

Related video – Teqball:

7. Broomball

With unknown origins, Broomball is a sport played outdoors or indoors on ice. Players are equipped with a special pair of broomball shoes. Unlike other games played on ice, in this activity skates are not used. The name of the game comes from the stick that the players use to hit the ball and which is known as a “broom” because of its appearance.

The sport of Broomball began to be known and played in several countries in the 1980s, when events were organized in Australia, Sweden, Italy, Germany, and Japan.

The sport is predominantly played in Canada and the United States.
Related video – Broomball:

8. Goalball

Created for athletes who are blind or have low vision, goalball is a team sport.

It was introduced in 1964 by Austrian Hans Lorenzen and German Sepp Reindl to help veterans of the Second World War.

In 1976, this game was introduced in the Paralympic Games, and in 1978 the first world championship took place in Austria.

Goalball is also played by athletes who do not have vision issues. Still, they are blindfolded during the game.

9. Padel Tennis

Padel tennis is a sport that originated in Mexico. Invented by Enrique Corcuera in 1969, this sport is a combination between tennis and squash and can be played in doubles.

It should not be confused with normal tennis or paddle tennis. Padel tennis is played on a court with walls with a ball with less pressure than an actual tennis one.

It is pretty popular and played in Spain, Mexico, Panama, Chile, and Brazil, as well as in Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, and Qatar at both recreational and competitive levels.
Related video:

10. Tee Ball

Tee-ball is a team sport specially designed for children aged between 4 and 6 years. This sport is similar to baseball.

It was invented in the 1950s, but it is not known exactly who was responsible for its creation. Jerome Sacharski and Claude Lewis are the two who try to take credit for the invention of this game.

Claude Lewis even created rules and organized a tee-ball league in 1958.

11. Floorball

Floorball has turned from a simple fun activity in schools, into a sport practiced in 2019 by 377,000 registered players. In the 20th century, it was practiced in very few special forms in Canada, and in 1979 Sweden created the first official rules of this sport.

Including elements from hockey, floorball also boasts its own federation that is responsible for its events.

Annually, the International Floorball Federation organizes the Champions Cup, EuroFloorball Cup, and EuroFloorball Challenge, and in 2017 it was even included as an official game in the World Games.
Related video:

12. Korfball

Like other weird sports on our list, it seems that Korfball was created by a school teacher who wanted to keep his students busy and excited.

Thus, in 1902, a Dutch school teacher named Nico Broekhuysen chose to entertain his students with a game that included two teams of 8 players each, a ball, and a netless basket.

Currently, the sport of korfball is played in over 69 countries including the United States of America, Europe, and Asia.

It has an International Korfball Federation that is responsible for organizing various competitions.
Related video – Korfball:

13. Klootschieten

In case you didn’t know, the simple act of throwing a ball as far as possible is a sport.

Called Klootschieten, this strange and even very simple sport has its origins in Germany. Throughout history, this sport has been popular and even adopted by the Dutch as a pleasant Sunday activity. But, since it was played especially in winter in low temperatures, the sport was banned for a period due to a large number of cases of pneumonia.

Nowadays, the sport is still practiced in some parts of Germany, with more than 40,000 players.
Related video – Klootschieten:

14. Tchoukball

The Swiss Hermann Brandt noticed that many athletes were injured during the practice of various sports. Wanting to minimize the accidents and injuries of athletes, Hermann created tchoukball.

Tchoukball is played in two teams and borrows some elements from volleyball and squash.

The first game of this type took place in 1970, and in 1971 the International Tchoukball Federation was founded.

Now, Hermann’s sport is still played in over 60 countries, mainly in Singapore, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
Related video – Tchoukball:

15. Bandy Sport

If you were to watch a bandy game, you would say you were watching a hockey game. Similar to hockey, this sport has very different equipment and rules. The Russians and the English both claim to be the inventors of it, but it has not been decided who was the first. That’s why both nations agreed to sit at the same table and create together the rules manual for bandy sport in 1882.

Due to a large number of players, bandy has its own Federation, and in 2001 it was declared a sport by the International Olympic Committee. Bandy is most popular in Russia, Sweden, Finland, and the Netherlands, but it is also played in other countries around the world.
Related video – Bandy Sport:

16. Bossaball

How cool would it be to play volleyball on a trampoline that would raise you as high as possible while listening to music at the same time? Well, what if we tell you that it is possible?

Bossaball is a game that perfectly integrates techniques and elements from the world of volleyball and gymnastics. As we’ve already mentioned, the game takes place on a trampoline that is separated, as in volleyball, by a net.

This weird sport is a relatively new one, being designed by the Belgian Filip Eyckmans in 2004.

The sport was played for the first time in Brazil. Slowly, it was adopted in Argentina, Mexico, Turkey, Belgium, Holland, France, Venezuela, Chile, Singapore, Paraguay, and many other countries.
Related video – Bossaball:

17. Hurling Sport

Hurling is a team sport that is practiced outdoors. Originating in Ireland, hurling is played with two sticks called hurley and a small ball named sliotar.

To play this game, players must have agility and speed skills. What is important to mention about it is that it is part of Irish culture. It is often popular in Irish communities around the world, especially in North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.

Unesco wanted to mark the uniqueness and importance of this sport by listing it as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Related video – Hurling Sport:

18. Fistball

Although it is not known exactly when and how it appeared, the first notions found about fistball date back to the year 240.

Then the Roman emperor Gordian III described a version of fistball. In 1870, this sport gained popularity in Germany, where it was introduced by Georg Weber. Weber is also the one who formed the first German rules for this activity.

Not long after, the sport was adopted by Austria, Switzerland, and Brazil.

The sport has its own separate championships for women and men, held once every four years. At the 2019 games, Germany won the gold.
Related video – Fistball:

19. Footvolley

As its name suggests, footvolley sport takes some elements from volleyball and others from football.

Octavio de Moraes is the one who founded this sports activity in Brazil in 1965 due to the fact that soccer was prohibited on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. But with open volleyball courts, Octavio saw the opportunity to invent a new sport.

Footvolley is generally played on the beach with a soccer ball.
Related video – Footvolley:

20. Horseball

To practice horseball, you need a horse and a ball.

Horseball is the successor of the pato game that originated in Argentina in 1700. Pato was banned for a while due to the numerous deaths among the participants, but in 1953 it was declared Argentina’s national game.

Horseball is recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, while the International Horse-Ball Federation is the one that organizes the events of this sport.

Some of the most important events are the European Championship, the World Championship, and the FIHB Champions League.
Related video – Horseball:

21. Shinty

Shinty originated in the Scottish Highlands and is an important part of the region’s culture. Also played in the United Kingdom and Canada, this sport takes some elements and rules from hurling and bandy, as well as from field hockey.

To play shinty you need sticks and a small ball. It is similar to field hockey, but it is played on grass rather than on a hard surface.
Related video – Shinty:

22. Hooverball

Hooverball owes its existence to a South American game called Bull-in-the-Ring.

President Herbert Hoover had contact with the sport in South America while he was on a trip. After his election in 1928, his personal physician and Medal of Honor recipient Joel T.

Boone created hooverball as an activity to keep the president in shape.

The sport is easy and involves throwing a 6 lb medicine ball over a net.
Related video – Hooverball:

23. Elephant polo

Nepal, India, and Thailand boast a traditional game involving an elephant and a ball.

Similar to the sport of polo, this activity first appeared in Meghauli, Nepal. With great local popularity, this sport even has its own headquarters and World Champion in Nepal.

Although this sport was played according to strict rules so as not to injure the elephants, it was somewhat stopped after some people made complaints and accusations of inappropriate treatment of elephants to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

These caused a series of events involving the cancellation of matches, the withdrawal of sponsors, and even the removal of records from the Guinness Book of Records.
Related video – Elephant polo:

24. Polocrosse

Polocrosse was developed by two great horse lovers from Australia in 1939. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hirst of Sydney were involved in horse breeding and horse sports.

They became fascinated when they read in an English newspaper about polo crosse. Deciding to learn more about this sporting activity, the two travel to London from where they return with the rules and equipment of the English version.

Working closely with a polo player, they’ve managed to design the Australian polocrosse.

This sport is played in Italy, New Zealand, the United States of America, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia.

The Polocrosse World Cup takes place every four years. In the last edition of 2019, Australia came out as the winner.
Related video – Polocrosse:

25. Kin-Ball

Involving three teams, kin-ball is a sport played with a large inflatable ball.

A physical education professor Mario Demers is responsible for the existence of this game. He invented the game in 1986 in Quebec, Canada.

The ball can be hit with hands, arms, and shoulders from all directions. One of the unique features of kin-ball is that each team is allowed to have multiple balls in play at the same time.

Kin-ball is a fun game suitable for all ages.

The sport has approximately 3.8 million players in the United States of America, Canada, France, Belgium, Denmark, China, Japan, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland.
Related video – Kin-Ball:

26. Jorkyball

Similar to racquetball, jorkyball is played on an enclosed court with walls on all sides and with a soccer ball.

It can be played in two teams by hitting the ball with all body parts against the walls to score points by throwing balls to the opponent’s side of the field.

The Frenchman Gilles Paniez developed this sport in 1987 in his own garage, and in 1990 the first game was played in the Fifa World Cup in Italy.

Most players of this sport are in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Belgium, Japan, Mexico, Israel, and India.
Related video – Jorkyball:

27. Pelota mixteca

With a history of over 3000 years, Pelota mixteca is a sport that is part of the culture of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. To be played, you need two teams of two or three players each and a ball. Players must wear specially-made gloves to hit the ball. In the past, gloves used to weigh somewhere between 7-12 lbs, but these days they are much lighter.

The sport is still practiced by those from Oaxaca, Guerrero, and by emigrant communities from Mexico City and Los Angeles.
Related video – Pelota mixteca:

28. Picigin

Picigin is not only a sport but also a true tradition of the city of Split in Croatia since its invention in 1908.

This sport is the creation of a group of students who wanted to play water polo. But the shallow water did not allow them to practice that activity.

They put their creativity to work and managed to invent picigin.

Every year the Picigin World Championship is organized in Split on Bacvice beach.
Related video – Picigin:

29. Cestoball

Cestoball was invented by professor Enrique Romero Brest in 1897 in Argentina.

The original name of the sport was Pelota al Cesto, but in 1986 the name of the sport was changed to Cestoball.

The name change was made in order to make the sport more attractive for athletes.
Related video – Cestoball:

30. Rinkball

The Swedes decided to design their own sport by taking elements from bandy, ice hockey, and rink bandy.

The sport of Rinkball was developed in 1960, and by 1970 it had become the favorite of the Finns as well.

Rinkball is played on ice with specially designed sticks and a blue ball. The International Rinkball Federation was created in Russia in 1992 and among the countries that joined are Hungary, Switzerland, Sweden, Kazakhstan, Estonia, and Finland.

Still, most players are in Finland, where the national championship in Kaukalopallon SM-series also takes place.
Related video – Rinkball:

31. Valencian pilota

According to some historical evidence, the sport of Valencian Pilota originates from the 1290s.

At that time, this sport was played only by the poor class of society. Later, the council of the city of Valencia banned the practice of this sport on the streets.

Similar to tennis, Valencian pilota is a very popular game in Valencian communication today.
Related video – Valencian pilota:

32. Padbol

If you combine elements from football, tennis, volleyball, and squash, you get padbol.

Padbol is a sport that is currently played in more than 15 countries. It was developed by Gustavo Miquens in 2008 in Argentina.

From 2013 until 2016 there were world cup championships in La Plata, Argentina, where the winners were only Spanish teams.
Related video – Padbol:


Have you found a sport that piques your interest?

About the author: Elly Logan

Elly is a real encyclopedia when it comes to footwear.

She is a true sneakerhead with an impressive collection of over 150 sneakers.

From the most iconic sneakers and classic shoes to the rarest ones, she doesn't miss a single pair. Keep reading...

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