A new sport called Action Ball will be offered as a PEAP course this fall. The sport was developed by Instructional Assistant Professor Chad Nelson and is aimed at providing a unique, action-packed experience to the sport culture at Texas A&M.
Developed in November 2015, the origins of Action Ball began when Nelson saw a need within his classes to help students bridge the gaps of foundational athletics. Drawing inspiration from Tiger Ball, a similar intramural sport developed by a colleague at Louisiana State University, Nelson developed his own version and made it the emphasis for his doctoral degree.
“I teach two activity hybrid courses in PEAP that are half activity and half lecture,” Nelson said. “I found that students didn’t have sufficient knowledge in foundational sports so I modified my own version of Tiger Ball in an attempt to help students build skills and introduce them to another opportunity to have fun.”
Rules of Play
Nelson is in the process of publishing an official rulebook for the sport. Action Ball combines elements of Ultimate Frisbee, football, basketball, and soccer. According to the official Action Ball rulebook, the game is played with two teams of eight players on a soccer field with the dimensions of 50x40 yards.
Players compete using a soccer ball and are allowed to handle and throw the ball until their opponent touches them. The offensive person then has 10 stall counts to release the ball. If the ball falls to the ground, the game then becomes soccer. The only way to bring the ball back to the hands is by contacting the ball with the foot.
Each team also has a goalkeeper set to block incoming balls from entering the 10x5 ft. goal. A goal is scored when an in-bounds player throws, kicks, or heads the ball into the goal. Each point is weighed differently according to the method used by the player.
The objective is to score as many points possible while keeping the other team from scoring. The team with the most points in a match wins the game.
A Sport For All
“What’s great about Action Ball is that it’s very inclusive. If you can run and play tag, you can play Action Ball,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he has already begun to see positive effects the sport has on players in performance and team building.
“I’ve seen the confidence in those who’ve played grow very quickly because this sport helps with pivoting, decision-making, lateral movement, and placement,” he said. “By pulling from so many different sports, Action Ball offers players a variety of avenues to run, play, and be successful.”
As Nelson continues to move forward with Action Ball and his research, he intends to expand the sport across the state. His hopes are that the sport will be played in school systems to further promote youth health and wellness. He also wants it to be used as a model to promote additional sports for student health.
“My end goal is that Action Ball will meet the health requirements set by both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM),” he said. “I am trying to show that it is not only a fun and beneficial sport, but I also want educators knowledgeable of its actual, empirical, and validated information.”
More information about Action Ball can be found on the PEAP courses website.