Vasca Ball


Known as  jeu de paume . From this sport it is believed that multiple ball games derive, such as Basque pelota ,  Valencian ball  or  tennis . It is a traditional sport of the Basque countries, where its people have maintained a consistency in modifying the game, preserving their own characteristics, thus providing versatility to the different modalities of classic game throughout the world, creating new rules, facilities and materials. of the same. One of his most famous films was: The Basque Ball, the Skin Against the Stone  (2003) by  Julio Médem, where he makes a compilation of previous films, as well as game scenes from other Basque sports. In the documentary, the ball game is a representation or metaphor of the socio-political situation in the Basque countries.


What is Basque pelota?

Basque pelota is a universal sport , which is traditional in the Basque countries , in the north of Spain, where it is currently practiced in many countries around the world, preserving the contribution of other civilizations that define its authenticity.


What is Basque pelota?

So overall , pelota requires the participation of at the least two players or failing that , two teams that surface measurements, take turns hitting a ball against a wall called ” frontispiece “ , to achieve both. The court in which it is played is called  fronton , there is a classification called  trinquete , which is a closed court with a side roof.



  • With each game mode, the ball is different.
  • The balls can be subdivided into new, renovated or used.


In the 13th century in some parts of France , a similar sport was practiced that was identified as  jeu de paume  or “ palm game ”. From this sport it is believed that multiple ball games derive, such as Basque pelota ,  Valencian ball  or  tennis .

Throughout history , different civilizations have put into practice different methods of ball game. They used to compete individually, developing the game in suitably delimited meadows; the game allowed for distraction and personal challenge with a sporting spirit.

The ball is, therefore, a universal game; the most exclusive forms of gambling were found in South America, the Middle East, and Western Europe .

The Jeu de Paume , that of the sieve and the game of the tambourine are live and exclusive manifestations of the old ball games and the Basque pelota and tennis are sports that fulfill as direct legacies games of yesteryear.

The expansion of the Roman Empire , brought to French territory the game called  pila . After its evolution, this would be derived with the name of  Jeu de Paume .

This game was played in the meadows and squares of the towns throughout the Roman Empire, despite the progressive use of new hitting implements, it kept its name of  paume or “palm. “

The bourgeois and aristocrats used the first equipment in their time, providing gloves and rackets

By the 12th century, the documents that support and solidify the expansion of the ball game increase progressively. In the Middle Ages, it is evident that the  palace , the  nobility  and the  kings  had their so-called  ratchets.

France, the true pioneer in the game of the ball, regarding the possible similarity with the current game mode, which includes two modalities: “la longue paume” and “courte paume”.

By the twentieth century, it was established as a professional sport, where fans played competitions from the year 1925. Thus, tournaments of all kinds proliferate everywhere under the inspiration of federative and business bodies, eventually opening the frontons in  China , Cuba and Egypt, among several countries places.

The Shanghai pediment   was undoubtedly the most important. The hobby spread in this century, despite the cyclical curvatures that show transitory times of splendor and decadence.

In the ” beginner “ field , the World Championships were established in 1952 in San Sebastián, where they became the most important ball game event. It is a meeting that is expressed every four years, of those countries that preserve and worship with great fervor the classic sport of ball.

Basque pelota techniques

Different strokes and their execution:

  • Boat height: Maximum height, ascending and descending trajectory.
  • Type of hit: Air and boat hit.
  • Hand used: Right and left.
  • Hitting height: High, medium and low.
  • Effects: Flat hit, up and down effect.
  • Strength given to the ball: Strong and smooth.

Direction given to the ball:

  • Placement: correct hitting distance.
  • Hitting the ball: Rotation, flexion and extension.
  • Enjoy the ball: Calculate the trajectory in space and time.
  • Release the arm: Lean the body forward during the strike.
  • Finishing the gesture: giving direction to the ball, either with or without spin.


Basque pelota has modalities such as:

  • Jai Alai , also known as basket-tip .
  • Leather paddle , played with a leather ball.
  • Frontenis , which is played with a tennis racket and with a smaller ball than the aforementioned sport.
  • Solid rubber paddle , the most used game mode in Spain and France.
  • Pala , is played on 56-meter frontons and with the classic leather ball.
  • Short blade , the same as the blade , but in 36 meter frontons.

Basque pelota variants

The most relevant variants of Basque pelota are:

  • Ball by hand : A more natural variant that is governed by the hand that represents the essential element that hits and drives the ball.
  • Paddle variants : Paddles or paddles are used (paddles of small size and thickness), with implementations of driving the ball. All blades are made of wood.
  • Varieties to xisteras : Known as the sixth point, it tries to get the player to take the ball in the air with a basket made of leather and wood, to throw it back towards the fronton, while the opposing team chooses the same, it is the variant that requires a faster gripping gesture.
  • Variants sare : It deals with the implementation of the rackets as if a tennis match were being executed, with a wider serve and with the termination of the ball much smaller.

Basque pelota categories

Category and years:

  • Benjamin (first year)
  • Benjamin (second year)
  • Alevín (first year)
  • Alevín (second year)
  • Infant (first year)
  • Infant (second year)


The most outstanding Basque pelota competitions are:

  • Navarrese Championship of the quarter and a half.
  • Manomanista Championship.
  • Ball competitions between national teams.
  • Basque ball at the Pan American games.
  • Championship of pairs hands in Spain.


  • The ball can only bounce once on the ground
  • No player can catch the ball, only hit it
  • After the serve, the ball can land in any area that is within the pediment
  • The match is 22 points without a time limit, in the case of a children’s match at 18 points.
  • A goal is achieved when a player from the other team fails to make the ball touch the front wall of the fronton.


Short pediment of 30 meters

The playing field called fronton consists of a front wall or front , a left wall, a back wall (bounce) and a floor (court). The length of the pediment is specifically 30 meters; the height and width are 10 meters each.

Specialties that play in this type of fronton:

  • Frontenis (Male and Female)
  • Argentine Paletagoma (Male and Female)

Short pediment of 36 meters

It is exactly like the previous game mode, but with a length of 36 meters.

Specialties that play in this fronton:

  • Individual Hand (Male)
  • Pairs (Male)
  • Solid rubber paddle
  • Leather Palette (Male)
  • Short shovel (Male)

54 meter long pediment or Jai alai

Same game mode as the anterior frontons, only that this one has a length of 54 meters.

Specialties executed in this type of fronton:

  • Tip basket (Male)
  • Ski lift (Male)
  • Long shovel (Male)


It is defined as a four-walled pediment, with a length of 28.50 meters, on the left wall,  a flat sloping roof extends from the  façade  to the  rebound , a net is extended under the roof and finally, the façade joins the right side wall across an inclined plane.

Material and equipment

The material  necessary to practice this sport has been modified over the years, from its inception with a leather ball, to the present day with rubber balls; also the rackets and rackets began being made of wood and today it is reinforced with synthetic materials such as rubber, leather and plastic.

Basque ball players wear a dress of white sneakers, white pants and colored shirts, white, blue and red.

Famous Basque pelota players

Historical hand ball:

  • Artamendi
  • Atano III
  • Retegi II
  • Azkarate
  • Ogueta
  • Mondragonés
  • Retegi I
  • Titin III
  • Txikito of Iraeta

Ball hand present

  • Neighborhood
  • Beloki
  • Bengoetxea VI
  • Martinez de Irujo
  • Olaizola II Patxi Ruiz
  • Gonzalez

Historical shovel

  • Juan Pablo
  • Gerardo Romano « The Fool «

Pala today

  • Pablo Fusto
  • Mixel fernandez
  • Carlos Dorato
  • Joseba Bilbao
  • Juan Firpo
  • Silvain brefel
  • Dan necol
  • Facundo Kennedy

Historical mountaineers

  • Koteto Ezkurra
  • Abrego

Remontistas champions of Spain amateurs

  • Rubén López Lechado
  • Ivan Jimenez
  • Echeverría II

Historical solid rubber paddle

  • M. Robles
  • Graciano Iriarte
  • Juan Pablo Ollo
  • M. Urra


  • The white shirt players are the beginners of the game.
  • The blue shirt players are those who have been playing for one or two years.
  • The red shirt players are those who have been practicing the sport for more than five years.
  • The oldest pediment is still standing in Madrid, inaugurated on June 29, 1894.

Leave a Comment