Frescobol a Brazilian paddle sport is normally played on the beach but can be played anywhere you have some open space. Learning how to play frescobol beach paddleball is fun!
Standing approximately 15 feet apart, you tap the red frescobol ball to your partner. Continue hitting the ball back and forth slowly at first. Try to get a rally going while establishing a rhythm.
After some practice, you may begin hitting the ball with much more pace. The key, just like other paddle sports is to concentrate on the ball, watching it all the way until it meets your paddle. Soon you will have fast pace rallies of 20 or more strokes!
What you need to know about Frescobol, the famous Brazilian beach game
On the beaches of Brazil, one of the most popular pastimes is Frescobol, which visitors to this Latin American nation sometimes call “Brazilian Paddle Ball” and “Beach Paddle Ball.” If you recently watched coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics from Rio, you might have caught sight of beautiful young Brazilians playing the game on Copacabana Beach, and not even realized it.
The game originated on the glamorous beaches of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro right after the end of World War II. In 1946, fun-loving Brazilians were looking for a way to enjoy the sun and surf, and Lian Portes de Carvalho came up with the idea of Frescobol, which involves two people trying to keep a tiny ball up in the air for as long as possible with wood paddles.
In contrast to other beach games such as volleyball, which pit you against your opponent, Frescobol is all about the friendly partnership between two people who are trying to keep the tiny rubber ball – which resembles an American racquetball – moving back and forth with a regular rhythm.
It’s harder than it sounds – just getting 10-15 volleys back and forth takes a lot of skill, concentration and coordination. On the beaches of Rio, you’ll often see groups of young men trying to impress beautiful, bikini-wearing Brazilian girls with their feats in Frescobol. In true Frescobol competitions, you’re judged not just on how long you can keep the ball moving, you’re also given points on your aesthetic flair.
And since the game doesn’t involve anything more than two wood paddles and a rubber ball (originally, the inventors of the game used a tennis ball), it can be played by people of all ages. Next to that same group of young Brazilian teenagers playing Frescobol, you might also see an old grandfather enjoying a spirited game with a young grandchild, both having fun at the beach.
Given the mass appeal of Frescobol, it’s perhaps no surprise that the game was quickly exported abroad during the post-war period to other countries in Latin America – as well as to Europe, Australia and even New Zealand. In the United States today, communities of Frescobol enthusiasts can be found in Florida as well as along the Gulf Coast.
While the game of Frescobol is most fun to enjoy on a sandy beach, it can be played just about anywhere there’s an open space. In the classic version of the game, two people stand about 15 feet apart on the beach, each holding a wood Frescobol paddle. Each takes turn playing “defense” and then going on the “attack.”
Of course, since this is a game of fun and friendship rather than direct competition, the terms “attack” and “defense” are relative. You’re hitting the ball in a way that guarantees that the ball will stay in the air as long as possible. You’re hitting the ball so that it doesn’t go too low, which would require a “sweep” to rescue it, and you’re not hitting it too high, which would require a “hook” to bring the ball back down to chest level.
The key elements in the fun game of Frescobol, of course, are the beautiful wood paddles used to play the game. In Brazil, fans of the game love to decorate and personalize their paddles, making them an expression of their personality. Within the United States, it’s now possible to buy these beautiful handcrafted paddles in a choice of beautiful woods: solid walnut, hickory, poplar, maple and cherry.
In the U.S,, the bestselling wood paddle is the birch paddle, which is handcrafted in Florida. In fact, it’s so popular that SELF magazine recently featured the paddle in its list of “tropical travel essentials.”
If you’re looking to stay in shape on your next beach vacation, or are just looking for a way to keep the kids occupied while you enjoy a relaxing carefree day in the sun, these wood paddles make for a great gift. When you see how much fun your family members are having, you’ll be glad you packed these Frescobol paddles on your next trip to the beach!
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