Gripping, fascinating, exciting. If that is what all the people say who only started to play the new game an hour earlier, this must mean that this is something really exceptional. And Smolball® is exceptional.

("Tempo" sports magazine, 16 September 2005, by Bartosz Krol)


Smolball® is a team sport with two teams playing to score goals, each with three players and one goalkeeper. The game is played with Smolball® rackets (by the goalkeeper as well) which I designed for the game (they are short and narrow which makes it easier to use them) and a soft ball with a special layer. The ball can be played on the ground or in the air but it can be touched 4 times only. In a sports hall it can touch anything but the ceiling. On the grass the game is played with baselines and a corner throw. The technique of the hit is similar to the one used in badminton or squash. The team which have scored more goals is the one which wins the game.



The idea of the game was born in the 70s of the 20th century at a summer sports camp of the University of Physical Education in Warsaw. There were over 50 students of us who wanted to play tennis but we had only two tennis courts at our disposal which made us wait for a very long time just to play one game. I suggested taking off the nets, deploying small goals and playing a team tennis. My friends ridiculed me but I thought that the idea was not that crazy at all. After leaving to Switzerland (1979) where I took up a job of sports teacher at a vocational school in Zurich I came back to the idea and presented the game to my students during their warm-up. It was at the first lesson already that the students asked to extend the warm-up to the end of the lesson. We played with rackets made of thick plywood. They were heavy, uncomfortable and dangerous. However, the success was enormous (despite the painful contact of different body parts with the rackets) and my students wanted to play further. From this moment I started to work on the equipment and rules of the game.



The name of the game comes from the first four letters of my name and the word ball: SMOL + BALL = SMOLBALL®



The attractiveness of the game stems from the simple concept and rules of the game. For this reason Smolball® can be played by anyone: children, the elderly, even the obese and the disabled.

The game does not require any major technical or tactical skills, thanks to which players achieve their first successes fast, which is very motivating.
As physical strength does not play any decisive role in Smolball®, it is played in all variants in mixed teams. Smolball® is also a perfect game to complement other sports disciplines.
Due to the enormous dynamics of Smolball® and its team sport rules it is a very interesting discipline which quickly attracts many followers everywhere.



It can be played in different variants:

  • Indoor Smolball®
  • Ice Smolball®
  • Beach Smolball®
  • Inline Smolball®
  • Roller Smolball®
  • Water Smolball® (also as a rehabilitation game)
  • Wheelchair Smolball®
  • Field Smolball®  
  • Snow Smolball®



  • Beach Smolball® and Water Smolball® 30 m x 20 m
  • Ice Smolball®, Roller Smolball® and Inline Smolball® 45 m x 25 m


  • Freistosslinie = free throw line
  • Penaltylinie = penalty throw line 
  • Verteidiger = defender
  • Stürmer = forward
  • Anspiellinie = serving line


The most important rules of the game

The game is started with a jump ball. The referee is standing at the point where the division line intersects the circle. The players are deployed at their half of the field and the rackets are touching the end of the serving line. The referee hits the ball up and the players jump to the ball trying to seize it for their team.


The ball can be touched 4 times maximum (without any limitation to the number of steps); raising the ball from the ground for the first time is not counted as touching it. When holding the ball on the racket, a player may take 4 steps with it, and when standing – keep it for 4 seconds. When the ball is served on the ground, it can be touched 4 times. A player cannot play the ball actively with their head, arm, foot or shank. A goalkeeper in the goal area can serve the ball with its whole body, and when leaving the area they become a player able to attack and score goals. Players but the goalkeeper can contact the ground with their body only twice (two legs). The body contact in the remaining part of the field is allowed, even desirable. Only gentle body contact is allowed; if an opponent is thrown out of their balance, they receive a free throw. A player who has the ball must not be attacked from behind. Players are not allowed to talk to the referee, nor are they permitted to discuss or offend other players (even their own).



A free throw is given for the following: a player has touched the ball 5 times, played with their head, arm, shank or foot. The ball has touched the ceiling. A player has complained about the referee's decision (a free throw, a yellow card and a 4-minute penalty). A player was attacking from behind.another player who had the ball. A player has pushed their opponent.

Free throws are indirect and performed at the spot where the game rules have been violated, the distance between the person doing a free throw and an opponent equals 4 metres.



the game rules at the back of the goal line – a free throw from the front corner of the goal area. In the event of a free throw for the opponent, all players can stand on the goal line. Both legs are touching the goal line, and so does the goalkeeper.



playing with one's hand, leg or head. More than two contacts of the body with the ground. Moving the goal intentionally. Pushing or holding a forward. Blocking the ball with a racket or one's body.
It is done directly from the penalty throw line. A player throws the ball up and hits it directly onto the goal. Other players are standing on the semicircle of the penalty throw. If the goalkeeper returns the ball, the player doing the penalty throw can play further immediately. If the goalkeeper has not touched the ball and has not scored a goal, this player cannot directly continue playing.
The rules of the game in detail:


The Smolball® equipment is designed in the way that makes the game safe and does not require any protective gear. The school rackets are made of aluminium. The racket frame is covered with a special layer. If the racket contacts the hand, the power of the hit is much lower. A professional racket is made of graphite. Both types of rackets have the same shape which I designed specially for Smolball®. The rackets have a special string so that a racket does not slip out of one's hand.


The Smolball® ball, soft and light, is made of sponge with a special protective layer. The ball bounces off well and is very fast in the game.



The match lasts 70 minutes and is played in three periods: 2 x 30 minutes with a 10-minute break; in the third period of the game, which lasts 30 minutes, after 15 minutes the teams change sides (without any break). In all Smolball® variants the time of the game is the same. As Water Smolball® and Beach Smolball® are more exhausting, the size of the field is different.



The team consists of 16 players and the game is played in the configuration of 3 + 1. Because of the enormous dynamics of the game, very frequent changes are necessary. Players can change freely but one player may enter the field after another player has left it.



A goal is 2 m long and 1.25 m high, the goal field is 5 m x 2 m. The distance between the goal line and the wall/barrier is 3 m. The game is also played behind the goal as in hockey.

Interesting Facts

Smolball® is played not only in Switzerland but also, among others, in Norway, Germany, Luxembourg, France and even China.

In Swiss schools, physical culture associations, and even in the army Smolball® is the number one sports discipline. It is included in the PE curriculum. The Ministry of Sport made the Smolball® equipment mandatory in sports halls. In Switzerland the Swiss Smolball® association has been established. Club championships of Switzerland, as well as Swiss championships of vocational schools and physical culture associations are organized.

Moreover, international championships were played at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Warsaw.
A Polish sports channel shot a report on one of those championships.

Not only semester theses, but also master's theses on Smolball® are written at sports universities in Europe: in Luxembourg, Germany.