Caricature – Gilon Smith

At the 2015 Australian Gateball Championship Gateball Australia’s previous National Director, Gilon Smith, was thanked for his contribution to the game and presented with a caricature drawn by Gateball’s Frances Wregg.

Gilon’s steady hand and unruffled manner will be missed in the national role. We will no doubt be calling on his advice and will continue to value his clear and analytic thinking.

The picture shows Gilon taking a swing to the accompaniment of raucous catcalls from some of his Canberra teammates.

Gilon SmithThe Canberra players included in the Caricature “in real life”. Can you guess who is who?image

Gateball Tactics – What have we learned?

Keith McLeod has submitted some valuable observations on tactics from this year’s Australian Championships. Gateball Australia thanks Keith for his comments and asks players to make comments on Keith’s observations. You can do this underneath Keith’s article.

IMG_4457The 2015 Australian Gateball Championship – And Why the Chinese Teams Won!

One good thing about being Tournament Referee is that I had an opportunity to observe many games, although some very briefly.

I noted the Chinese teams’ comfortable progression through the block games with only two losses (well done McIlwraith and NSW Country).  So how is it that these Gateballers are so much better than our teams?  Let me share my thoughts and observations.

Player Skills

Although many Asian players play golf style, the Chinese use centre style but with rather unique features:

  • the stance is with both feet close together and there is no stalking;
  • the head of the stick is usually in contact with at least one shoe; and
  • the stroke is very hammer like with little backswing and minimum follow through.

Using this style, they have developed a high level of Touch accuracy.  Also, this style appears to assist with achieving successful slide touches, but more on this later.

232323232-fp93232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv335-6-nu=4866-333-333-WSNRCG=3757-7364333;nu0mrjTo get precise sparking accuracy, most Chinese players bent low over the set balls with the right foot well back from the set (for right handed players).  This enabled them to sight the set direction accurately.  The overall precision of their sparking contributed significantly to their success.  (Any Aussie Gateballer who has received coaching from me will know I always stress that effective sparking is the secret of Gateball success….and the Chinese certainly proved that).

When attempting a sparking bombard, the direction precision achieved by the low sparking stance certainly pays off.  Successful bombards by the Chinese were the rule and not the exception.

Aussie players seem content to gently stroke an out-ball into the court often with their ball finishing up to 200mm from the line, or to stroke it to an exposed position on the court so that it is easy for the opponent team to attack.  The Chinese made sure that their ball was just on the line and often with part of the ball outside the court thus making good use of the painted court lines.

I saw some exceptional slide touches and a few with the target ball to be touched at least 1m away from the stroker’s ball!!  From my observations, this was one of their key skills.  During a recent practice, I tried slide touches using the Chinese stance (feet close and one shoe used to guide the stick head) and a very short backswing, then a hammer stroke on the stroker’s ball.  It worked well and with some practice, I think I could become more proficient with slide touches using this technique.

Game Strategy and Tactics

Some of the strategies and tactics used with success by the Chinese that I noted were:

  • holdback tactics used every game;
  • often only 1 or 2 balls on the court in the first round;
  • holdback, place a ball at the back of G1, then make G1 and slide touch to G2 (affectionately known by the Aussie teams at the 2010 World Gateball Championship as the ‘Shanghai holdback’);
  • content to win without seeking high scores (note the semi and final scores);
  • Gate and Touch tactic was used often;  I saw some Aussie teams fail to capitalise on Gate and Touch opportunities;
  • a tactic that was new to me was sparking an opponent ball to a team ball to make a subsequent bombard easier; ingenious, however it requires high confidence in sparking depth;
  • using opponent balls instead of sparking them to out-balls; and
  •  using a team ball to bombard a critical opponent ball.

I hope we can all learn from the Chinese and improve our skills and tactics.

Keith McLeod




2015 Australian Gateball Championship – Photo Competition

A unique feature of the 2015 Australian Gateball Championship was Australia’s first gateball photo competition. The Australian gateball community strongly supported the event with 85 entries received. The top thirty photos were displayed during the weekend with peoples votes deciding the winner.

The winning photo was Is that a proposal on Gateball Court by Glenda Gutierrez who won a $100 voucher from VideoPro. Small Boy and a Big Hoop finished second while Brass Monkey Weather in Blackheath placed third. A big thank you to Frances Wregg for organising the competition.

The finalists are published below (in no particular order) as well as some commendations that didn’t make the final 30. Click on the photos to view a larger version and you can discuss your favourite in the comments below.


No 2 in the Middle
No 2 in the Middle
Mallet in the Sky
Mallet in the Sky
Technique Pays Off
Technique pays off
Nailed it!
Nailed it!
Start of the Day
Start of the day
Hmm let me think about this
Hmm! Let me think about this!
Three Countries Six Fingers
Three countries Six  fingers
All Seasons
All Seasons
The International Game of Friendship
© Joshua McGhie - Jam Theater Photography
A New Breed of Gateballers
A New Breed of Gateballers
Sparking (2)
Nearly Done
Is that a proposal on the gateball court?
Is that a proposal on Gateball Court
Playing under the Bridge at Nagoya
Playing under the bridge at Nagoya
Is it a flamingo?
WGC Shanghai
WGC Shanghai
Line me up please
(C) Joshua McGhie - Jam Theater Photography
Brass Monkey Weather in Blackheath
Colin exchanges his mallet for a shovel
Macau Asian Games 2012
Lee at the World Champs Japan 2014
Lee at World Champs Japan 2014.
A Perfect Day
A perfect day
As Straight as a Die
As straight as a die
Come Rain Come Shine
Come rain come shine
Exhausting Eildon 2 August 2015
Eye on the Ball
Eye on the ball
Where are the Red Ones
Where are the red ones
Small Boy and a Big Hoop
Small boy and a big Hoop
The Winning Shot
The winning shot!

Honourable Mentions

Newcastle Flamingoes
They're a Weird Mob
Team Volley
says it all
Newcastle 2013 PPenguins Wild TurkeysLanguage no barrier it's been a long morning!

Australian Gateball Championship – your feedback is needed

feedback imageIf you attended or were involved with the Australian Gateball Championship we are keen to have your feedback for future planning. Responses to be emailed to Respond to as much or as little as you wish. Identify any other issues. Club responses are welcome too if this is the easiest way to do it.


Date setting
What impact did the late date announcement have on the event, as far as you were concerned?
Was the month of the event a suitable one? If not, which month would be better for future nationals?

Planning and organisation
If you played any direct role or performed any support tasks, what were they? Any suggested improvements?
Any general comment from others not directly involved is welcome.

Publicity & event information
What local publicity did clubs manage to generate about their entry in the event?
How useful were the model press releases circulated by the Event Manager?
Any ideas for improving publicity for future national events?
Any comments on event information sent to clubs or distributed at the event?
Anything else?

Friday Practice Day
What did you get out of the workshops (Website + Gateball Scores, Tricia Vierra and the ACA, Coaching)
Comment on the usefulness of the meeting for Team Managers, Referees and Captains.
How suitable was the timing of events during the day?
Comment on the structure of the practice sessions (ie mix of individual practice, informal games and unallocated courts)
Please comment on the photo competition

Host club & venue
Food – lunch & all day refreshment – please comment on quality and/or cost.
Dinner. Did you attend? Comment on the venue or other issues?
Please comment on courts and equipment provided
Shelter and seating – please comment.

Welcome received
How welcome did you feel?
How can we improve the welcome and hospitality for international teams?
Any other comments

Opening and Closing Ceremony
Please comment.

Standards for Australian Gateball
Are our playing standards improving?
How can we improve our competitiveness against quality overseas teams?
How well did we officiate? How can we improve our standards?

Volunteering in future events
How could you contribute to the organisation and running of future events?

While responding, please also feel free to identify any issues you believe are important for Gateball Australia to address.