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What is an incas ball?

Inca Ball is a game in which an inflated rubber ball is hit back and forth by two opposing teams, using only their heads. It is similar to soccer and rugby, in which the object of the game is to kick or carry an object into a goal. The only difference between this game and soccer is that players are not allowed to use their hands.

Where did it originally come from?

The game was first invented on the Bolivian altiplano in South America as a form of exercise for children. Bolivians called it “llama laia”. It later became more popular and was adopted by Quechua speakers, who created it as a sport under Spanish rule.

How did Incas Ball come about?

The game was first played in the Andes Mountains of Peru during the 16th century by native inhabitants of the area before European settlers arrived. The Spanish quickly realized Incas Ball was an important part of their culture and set out to assimilate it into their own. The game became so popular that it soon spread to other parts of South America where variations emerged, including Ecuadorian Cadimba, Bolivian Tricot, and Chilean Quincha.

How did it spread to the U.S.?

Inca ball is believed to have spread throughout the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s with waves of Spanish-speaking immigrants. In Bolivia, Incas Ball became an important part of indigenous identity much like basketball did in the United States, giving them a sense of equality with their Spanish rulers. Bolivian folklore states that Inca warriors would use Incas Ball as a training tool before going into battle against their Spanish rivals.

How is it played?

Two teams play against each other on a field rectangular in shape and about 130 yards long and 70 yards wide. One ball (generally inflated with air) is placed in one goal and the other ball is placed in the opposite goal. The ball is made of rubber and up to 11 inches in diameter. It has a seam on one side that is used to inflate it by blowing air into it. Players can also use their own mouth or foot to inflate it. The team with possession of the ball attempts to keep possession for as long as possible; with two teams on the field, points are awarded for every time the ball hits either team’s goal post or an opponent player without getting deflated first; a team can win if they score ten points after 20 minutes of possession, or seven points after 22 minutes of possession.

Facts about it:

The game is played with two teams, whose goal posts are made of wooden bars placed about four feet apart. One of the players on each team begins at one of the goals; this first player then moves to the opposite goal, which is now vacant. The second player from each team enters the empty goal and picks up a ball; this process continues clockwise. When all players are in their positions, they begin by passing a ball back and forth, out and away from them (like handball or basketball) until someone gains possession and hangs onto it while keeping an eye on his adversaries. 

While keeping possession, they continue running in a circle as they keep passing the ball back and forth until one of their teammates kicks the ball high in the air. What follows is known as “the run” and players must compete to catch the ball just before it hits the ground. The main objective here is to keep possession of the ball until someone manages to kick it high enough for another player on his team to jump over one or all of his opponents and hit the ball with his head. The game begins when a player from one team kicks a high pass from one goal post towards a group of opposing players.

What are the advantages?

Doctors have found that Incas Ball is a very healthy and effective form of exercise and stress relief. It has been proven to help with posture, flexibility, balance, coordination, heart health and even weight loss. It has also been shown to be a stress reliever for military members who are deployed overseas.

Who is still playing?

Today, Incas Ball remains one of the most popular sports in Bolivia; as of 2013, there are 350 teams competing against each other on Sundays in La Paz alone. The sport is still very popular in Peru as well where it continues to grow every year. In 2013, Incas Ball was played for the first time in the U.S. by a team of South American players and World War II veterans playing against a team of American WWII veterans in North Carolina at the annual Regimental Field Days held by Camp Gordon Johnston (CGJ) in Partridge Creek, NC.

The Incas Ball World Championships are held every four years and are hosted by any country that can provide at least two teams of five players each. The first ever tournament was held in Peru in 2009, with teams from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru participating.

In the U.S., the most successful Incas Ball teams have been the Gladiators of Texas, Incas River Runners, in Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona and Los Bolivianos del Norte of Northern California. Incas Ball has also spread to five other countries including Mexico, Poland, Australia and South Africa. Inca Ball is known to be played by hundreds of thousands of US citizens today as well as many countries around the world. Many are taught to play by their grandparents or even cousins; however, it can only be played while standing on your feet with no hands used at all.

Are there any disadvantages?

Like any other sport, Incas Ball has its risks. Expert players can kick the ball over 50 feet high and at high speed, causing serious injuries if precautions are not taken. Because of its popularity in both Bolivia and Peru, traditional handball and basketball players resent the sport because it is played with a round ball which they consider un-athletic. Another disadvantage is that Incas Ball is governed badly by its administrators who do little to develop it outside the US and Bolivia. While still in its infancy, Incas Ball’s growth is still limited by the US-based governing body.


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