Not so long ago, I was tasked with finding out what NSW Gateballers loved about the game. I put out the request to a number of local clubs and this is what they came up with. Such a range of insightful comments! And interesting to see the common themes: the enjoyment of teamwork, the intellectual challenge, the buzz of decision making on the run, the developing awareness of strategic possibilities, the opportunities to play competitively, the broad appeal of the game.
Thank you to the players who shared the thoughts below. They may be useful when promoting Gateball to others. And in case you’re wondering, the photos are taken from the website archive and don’t relate to the comments shown.
Lithgow Croquet Club
I enjoy playing gateball because of the company I play with. The game is mentally stimulating and you are constantly developing your skills. In particular I enjoy participating in competitions with my team mates.
Gateball as a team sport is a collective all working toward a common goal. I feel valued for my honest efforts. I love the quick response strategy and the excitement of possibilities.
I like that it is fast. I like that you can start with the basic skills following a captain and then build right through to develop all strategic aspects of the game. A team game with such breadth!
Gateball is the game I play because it requires a lot of strategic thinking, as well as accurate ball play. I also play bridge and I find similar strategic challenges. A healthy alternative to bridge and like playing billiards but outside in the fresh air.
Since this thinking and planning process is such a strategic part of the play, the game can be satisfying played and enjoyed with people of varying fitness levels. It also has the potential to be played at an elite fitness level.
I also enjoy the opportunities to play in tournaments, as I like travelling and as the game is played nationally at the moment there is the opportunity for players of any ability to play in state and interstate matches.
We like the idea of being part of a team, which was supportive, and through this team effort, we enjoy the bonding and camaraderie experience
Gateball can be played whether there are just two people at a club that play it, or any number of players (usually 10) who partake. All variations do-able
The skills are challenging, satisfying and equally as frustrating as the skills needed in other games
Even practising on one’s own, is like playing the card game ‘Patience’ (good brain training activities, such as, the need to focus, remain alert/peripheral vision required, be able to multi-task, show discipline, help with recall). One AC player finds it just as satisfying, when practising GB alone, as she does when practising alone to do a 4 -ball break exercise (for 1/2hr. AC Practice), lots of walking!
Gateball has provided opportunities to travel in small groups to the regions, or out of State, providing company in new places, and sharing accommodation helps reduce costs
Most of us have only played GB for a couple of years. It has been an exciting era, where opportunities to partake in State and National Competitions, have been possible. We realise that era is coming to an end, as competition for places on touring teams becomes more intense. These experiences, have ‘whet the appetite’ of many players, to aspire to remain in a team, or to join such a team, and travel/play interstate and overseas.
Presently, players realise they are helping to develop Gateball in Australia, and that this role is important. Some clubs have included Gateball in their Seniors’ Croquet Sessions, and also their School croquet programs. A recent new player from the 2020 Seniors GC and GB session likes this game for many reasons, which are stated in this list. [She] identified one concern, which was-she might become bored standing to wait for her turn, which might then be short lived.
New players can join in, knowing that their understanding of strategies will come gradually. They like having a captain and being told where to place their ball. They can partake in their very first game
As the new player advances, the waiting period of ‘waiting for your turn’ becomes more active as the new player starts to follow the game, recognise some strategies, and also the importance of the role they individually play. Their general understanding will naturally be incremental.
Players transitioning from one croquet game code to the other, can transfer their knowledge of mallet/ball skills learnt in their other game code(s)
Most of us who play Gateball like variety, and GB certainly provides this.
All of us enjoy the short duration of the game (30 minutes) , and also enjoy the quicker turn-arounds, of games and players, compared with the other game codes.
Whilst croquet players have many common skills applied differently (eg stroke close to the boundary line) and each croquet game code has unique skills as well. Gateball has this with the sparking stroke.
Gateballers generally love the chance to recognise and test out their strategies. With 10 balls operating in the game, they have lots of opportunity.
The equipment is lighter, games shorter and the work shared among team members, this enables players with hidden physical disabilities to cope well as Gateballers. There is less impact on their joints. Equipment has been devised to help with some of those disabilities
Have been playing gateball for about 6 years now and I think it’s the best form of mallet sport available. Why? It’s a very fast action, fun packed game of strategy and cunning and the whole game can change in a second so it’s pretty full on for the half hour game. I like playing triples or doubles as you get a lot more turns than with the team version but the strategy is the same.
I love it!!!!!
Why do I play? It’s the complexity, what seemed like an insurmountable task when you first start, that’s what keeps me coming back. Knowing where the 10 balls are and the realisation that there isn’t just one move that could be made next, but maybe 5 or 6. Having a plan that seems to go out the window almost every other shot. You need to be thinking and rethinking on every shot. And you need to think fast.
Being able to play with a large cross section of opponents, young and not so.
Being able to play with and against international players. Even if we don’t speak the same language our sport crosses through those barriers.