Gateball on the move

On our 2nd visit to Sunnyside Croquet Club to coach and demonstrate Gateball on the 12 July 2023, we were met by a very enthusiastic and welcoming group of players, who were as keen as mustard to get their hands on the first Loan Gateball Kit that I have available to lend to a club who have shown a keen and enthusiastic attitude toward accepting Gateball to their club.

Sunnyside Club and their members, 20 at our first visit, and 10 members, at our second visit, are just what I look for in a club to take on Gateball and expand our game. Along with Point Lookout who are also playing Gateball on a regular basis, Gateball is moving in the right direction in the Wide Bay Burnett Region in regional Queensland.

I have several other clubs to visit this year for Gateball demonstrations and hopefully, will have more Loan Gateball Kits to have on hand to allow these clubs to try Gateball without the initial expense of acquiring their own kits. I like the “try before you buy” way that we are spreading the Gateball message throughout Queensland.  Gateball is different just by the nature of the game, so having more loan kits available, we can expand our sport to the wider croquet community without the initial cost of equipment being a factor. Having Croquet clubs equipped and playing Gateball which is an all-inclusive sport, will not only attract new and possibly younger members and their families but also give existing members at clubs more choice, with Gateball also being offered.

Robert Roose 

Queensland Gateball Coordinator

Beginner Gateball Captain Course at Strathfield Croquet Club

14 NSW players participated in a Beginner Captains course at Strathfield CC led by John and Penny Park of Hazelbrook CC.

At an introductory session in the clubhouse, participants brainstormed the characteristics of an effective captain. These were then grouped into two aspects: the Team skills and Thinking skills required to captain a successful Gateball team. These were to be the focus of the course.
Participants then headed outside for practical sessions, exploring the different stages of a game of Gateball and strategic play for each stage.
To illustrate Stage One, the platform building stage, two activities were undertaken. One, called ‘Blitzkrieg’, involved players, after passing Gate 1, shooting for Gate 2. Consequences were discussed,  before moving onto an activity identifying alternative standard plays, for example the “Gate 2 side strategy”.  (All these were identified from old World Gateball Union manuals!)
The concepts of ‘Thinking Numerically’ and ‘Controlling Space’ were introduced and then  ‘Space Controllers’, such as slides, bridges and attack balls, were discussed and then put into practice through mini games played on quarter courts. The mini games were devised specifically to challenge players to see opportunities to attack their opposition.
Finally, the group looked at the End Game. Two scenarios were used. The time pressure was horrific – in one scenario there were a couple of minutes left, no balls were on the court, other than one sitting on the goal pole. “Referees” were used and had to caution players about waiting until they were called before playing. Tension was high! As with each stage of the game,  the group considered the necessary team or people skills and the thinking skills required to successfully captain. 
Star of the show was, we believe, the youngest ever participant in a Gateball event, newly arrived  daughter of one of the course participants. At only a few weeks old, her presence was celebrated! 
Gateball Australia has appointed a High Performance Manager for Gateball and has offered support for a Captain Development Program in May this year to be held in Queensland. This session at Strathfield complements that initiative by providing a course for beginner captains. 
John Park, Level 3 Gateball Coach

Workshop Summaries from the 2021/22 Australian Gateball Championships

Refereeing workshops:

At the 21/22 AGC a number of referee workshops were held. Supporting resources clarifying roles were handed out and are available as follows: Basic Interaction between Referees A and BDuties of the Assistant RefereeDuties of a LinespersonDuties of a RecorderReferee Role A&B and the Scoreboard Keeper.

Other clarifications were presented as follows: Example Record SheetRotational Doubles Record Sheet , Monitoring Player sequence for Doubles and Referee Hand Indications

A final group worked through the Gateball Australia Referee Accreditation and Reaccreditiation Framework using a series of questions.

All referees are reminded that attending sessions like these help them meet their reaccreditation requirements and can be noted on annual reaccreditation cards that need to be handed to State Referee Coordinators each year. 

Coaching Workshops

Five sessions were planned which coincided with three levels of the Gateball Coaching Framework. More advanced sessions were presented on Managing the Endgame ( and notes!)  and Holdback The development and presentation of  scenarios like these is a major component of the Level 3 coaching program

For competition players sessions on Openings and Ladders & Cross court sparking were presented. Activities like these are presented as part the Level 2 coaching program which aims to develop the skills players need to become good competition players

For first time competitors, the usefulness of skills cards was demonstrated in preparing for competition participation.  Skills and drills for less experienced players are part of the Level 1 coaching program

Anyone wishing to train as a coach needs to make an application through their State Coordinator of Coaching.

Stroking Advice

One observation made at the event was that several of our experienced croquet players seemed to cope better with the playing surface. An email asking them how they felt their particular stroking style enabled them to cope with the conditions produced several responses which have been posted below. The comments made, emphasise for us all that we need revisit “Level 1” skills when faced with challenges

Peter: In GC you use more backswing to get more power (an Egyptian will often have the mallet vertical behind him before slamming a ball down court).

I didn’t see many GB players doing this – instead, to compensate for the heavier conditions, most tried to accelerate through the swing.  This does produce more power, but tends to pull you off line, which is part of the reason so many shots missed target (the lawn also had a lot of deviation as well, so even if you hit straight there were no guarantees).  Hitting balls that had been pressed into the grass during sparking didn’t help – I’ve never seen so many jumps in GB, many of which were cruel!

Many GB players also jab, which is OK at short range, but to hit a target at any distance you need a bigger action – some backswing for power and a good follow through for direction.  Pedants will point out that you’ve already hit the ball before the follow through, but the follow through shows you where you’ve sent the ball, so a good follow through action will help you send it where you want.  The trick for many players is to keep a bigger action, but to slow it down to accommodate a shorter distance.  Slow, flow & follow through is the mantra.

Barry: I find a backswing as short as possible & an almost over exaggerated follow through gives me the best accuracy. That was certainly the case on the challenging lawns we have just played on.
It was still a bit of a lottery but I found that if I tried for extra power by increasing my backswing, my accuracy suffered.

Greg: I did notice a lot of Gateball players were not stalking the ball or using a lot of follow through. One way to address this is to teach/refresh the routine for stroking.

The Routine: Players should develop a consistent routine in preparation for every stroke.

A stroking routine could be:

Take your grip

Stalk the ball

Take your stance/position

Keep your eye on the ball

Keep the body still

Backswing is controlled

Hit the ball in the centre

The swing is fluid

Follow through

See the grass under the ball

Ok – so maybe this just exposed something we can work at. Maybe at a future event we can include a stroking workshop? 

Another Gateball Brainteaser

Geoff Crook from South Australia has sent us another conundrum from a recent game at Woodville. Please put your answers and comments in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.

The last 3 minutes

After a gap of at least 12 months, Woodville hosted a Sunday afternoon of Gateball on 7 November 2021.  The last game of the day was pretty unusual, with Red storming to a 15-1 lead after 12 minutes, and White’s solitary ball in play was an out-ball [Ball 6].

However, White fought back and the result was the position below – 5 points behind with a couple of minutes left.

Ball 10 is to play, and assume Ball 6 plays last. 

Can White win?  Please explain the sequence of play leading to your answer.

What happened next? Solution

The last post had the scenario below together with a short video of what I did on the day, and posed the question “What happened next”

Thanks to everyone who commented.

I’ve always said if you can’t be good be lucky and I really rode my luck with this one.

The video below shows what happened – Ball 5 touched Ball 8 and bombarded Ball 4 on the line near gate 3.  Ball 8 bounced off Ball 4 and knocked out Ball 2, with Ball 8 landing on the court near Ball 7 (which had been sparked to its position near gate 3 earlier in the turn!).

Geoff Crook