Developing a taste for Gateball in Victoria

Over the weekend of December 10 and 11, 2022, we held the first Gateball Development Weekend for Victoria at Brunswick Malletsports Club.  The course was hosted by the new Gateball High Performance Manager Philip Brown.  The purpose of the day was both simple and difficult all at once:  get better at Gateball.  Overall, we think we achieved the goal and had plenty of fun along the way to boot!

We had 12 players from five clubs attend the weekend, including visitors from regional Victoria and from South Australia.  The players had very different levels of skills, too.  There were some absolute beginners, some solid players and some of the best players in the country.

Saturday was the skills carnival.  We started the morning with basic skills and progressed into more advanced topics as the day continued.  First up were the seminal requirements for Gateball: hitting and sparking.  There’s a clear need in Gateball to control the strength of the shot and the direction of the shot at the same time.  It’s easy to say, but harder to do.  We practised placing all 5 balls in a cluster near the goal pole, then sparking each one agari. This helps you to proactively plan your shots as a cohesive turn.  It requires you to think ahead for where you want your ball to be – but then also react when, inevitably, your ball isn’t quite where you wanted it to finish.  So you go back to drawing board and think through what to do next.

We handed over to two local coaches from Kew for a session on sliding.  Clare and David discussed different techniques for envisioning the slide before you play and showed how to use the slider guider.  David and Clare emphasised the need to think of short slides as well as long cross-court ones.

We ran a version of the excellent Think Like a Captain course developed by John and Penny Park before lunch.  This is a series of exercises and scenarios designed to help players understand what their captain might ask them to do and, more importantly, why. The course also focuses on what players can do to assist their captains – things like tracking their own ball’s score and knowing where the next opposition ball is.   

After a delightful shared lunch in Brunswick’s lovely clubhouse, we spent the early afternoon looking at some basics of refereeing.  The participants heard the ideas behind the Referee A and Referee B system, including the need for the refereeing team to watch the ball and the target closely at all times.

The final exercise was decision making as a captain.  We looked at various scenarios of balls on a court and discussed which tactics are best in those circumstances.  It’s a great way to ease a player into the ideas behind captaincy without the pesky 10 second counts that happen in a real game…

Speaking of real games, the Sunday was devoted to putting our newly-learned skills into action.  Unfortunately, a non-Gateball-related sprained ankle and some COVID protocols robbed us of some attendees.  Never-the-less, the group played some doubles, triples and larger games to cap off an enjoyable – and instructive – weekend.

Philip Brown, Gateball High Performance Manager

Sincere thanks

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Gateball community for all the support and thoughtful messages on Andrew’s sudden death at the NSW Gateball Championships in Albury.  

It has been a great comfort to me and my family at this time.   The Gateball community has been very supportive.  

Please know that I appreciate all that was done for him on the day and will be forever grateful to you all.  

My sincere thanks


South Australian State Gateball Tournament December 2022

The SA State Gateball Tournament was held from Friday 2 December 2022 to Sunday 4 December 2022, and was a testament to the flexibility, pragmatism and all round good nature of the Gateball community.

This was the first time we have held a “real” teams competition after last year’s trial event with two teams and rotating captains. It was gratifying to see 6 teams enter the competition, with 3 local sides and 3 interstate teams from Victoria, NSW and ACT.

A big thank you to all of our interstate visitors for making the trip – you certainly enhanced the standard of the competition and the enjoyment of all competitors.

We started with doubles on Friday, teams on Saturday, and completion of doubles on Sunday. This unusual schedule arose from the availability of some players who could not play on Friday, and some team-only players who could only play on Saturday.

The President’s [doubles] Trophy was contested over two blocks of six pairs, with the local Brighton team having an excellent Friday to lead Block A with 4 wins from 4 games, and it was a similar story in Block B with Canberra Long Shots also winning all four of their games.

Saturday saw the arrival of the Victorian team and the hot weather. Kew [and co] played to their usual standard, despite being more of a composite team, and will be the first team to adorn the new Gateball Teams perpetual trophy. Canberra placed second with 3 wins, separated from Woodville, ably supported by Ros and Maddi Crowe from Queensland, in third place by net gates. [Can I say Well done Woodville? Just did I guess.]

Sunday again brought hot weather and a tough schedule for the pairings of Philip and Peter W; and Elaine and Cheryl, who had to play all of their games on Sunday morning.

A tense finale was in store with 3 teams in each block in contention for the finals as the last round started.  Philip and Peter beat Brighton 21-9 which unfortunately consigned Brighton to third place in Block A, but still a great performance from the Brighton pair in their first tournament.  Elaine and Cheryl won their final Block B game but also placed third in their block, which set up semi finals between Philip and Peter versus John and Penny and Canberra Long Shots versus the Hyde Park pair.  It was great to see a local doubles team make the finals and the Hyde Park pairing should be congratulated on their performance.  Unfortunately, Canberra were too strong, and the final was played between Canberra and Philip and Peter [also from Canberra].

Philip again will have his name etched onto the trophy after overseeing a 14-8 victory.

The weekend also provided an opportunity for a number of people to sit their Referee Theory exam.

Congratulations to Cheryl, Peter W and Ralph for passing the level 1 Referee Theory exam.

Barry Jennings and Maddi Crowe also passed the theory exam and were assessed for the practical component, and are to be congratulated on becoming our newest Level 1 referees.

Story submitted by Geoff Crook, SA State Gateball Coordinator