The ultimate debate of roundnet! Which foundational sport creates the best roundnet player? The list of sports being considered include: football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, hockey, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and lacrosse. Before diving into this post consider reading the previous post written by Roundnet World "Essential Attributes of a Roundnet Player". Several concepts from that blog post will be discussed here as we layout the argument for each sport. Using that article for context, one can speculatively examine each sport and determine which sport most closely aligns with competitive roundnet. It's time to get out your list! Here we go...
9. (American) Football:
Quick question- how many legit Spikeball players came from a foundation of football? Not many that I know... While certain positions on the football field certainly require athleticism, agility, awareness, and mental toughness. With the exception of receivers and defensive backs, one can be a successful football player and not necessarily possess hand eye coordination- which is certainly required to reach the upper echelon of Spikeball. For that reason it comes in last on our list.
One could make an argument that playing hockey requires nearly every essential attribute necessary to be a legit roundnet player. However, compared to other sports on this list- it's hard to rank hockey above them. For that reason, hockey comes second to last.
7. Ultimate Frisbee
Sprinting, diving, catching, throwing, and jogging non stop creates a smooth transition to competitive Roundnet. While Spikeball has gained popularity rapidly, it may be growing the quickest among the community of competitive ultimate players. The only essential attribute which might be questioned is whether ultimate requires the same awareness/mental toughness as other sports on this list. Full disclosure, the first time we brainstormed this list Ultimate was #4, but with revisions it landed at #7.
One must definitely have endurance to play lacrosse since there is a lot of running involved. One must also possess hand eye coordination and athleticism if you want to be a play maker on the field. I'd be open to hearing a compelling argument as to why lacrosse might be higher on the list, but at this point it takes the #6 spot.
Athleticism definitely, agility/quickness yup, endurance yes, mental toughness yes sir, awareness yup, hand eye coordination? Maybe not? How would Lebron James and Steph Curry do if they faced Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in a competitive Roundnet match? My money is on Federer and Nadal. I can't believe i'm about to question Lebron James, but at 6'8, 250 pounds could the man get down for a drop shot then quickly rise to his feet and hit a tweener? While no one can argue that the best basketball players in the world are phenomenal athletes, great basketball players may not necessarily translate to the best Roundnet players. At least not enough to crack the top four on our list.
The ultimate test of hand eye coordination? You could make the case. However, one glaring weakness of baseball players transitioning to Roundnet... Using CC Sabathia and Pablo Sandoval as prime examples... Endurance. There are lots of breaks in baseball games for eating sunflower seeds in the dugout... one won't have such breaks in competitive roundnet. For that reason baseball comes in at #4 on our list.
Did you know when considering field size and length of halves that the average soccer player runs about 7 miles per game? Considering the only stoppage comes at halftime this sport arguably requires the most endurance. The only question remaining- with the exception of keepers... does foot-eye coordination count? Every other essential attribute is certainly met in soccer. Soccer cracks the top 3.
It’s difficult not to consider volleyball the foundational sport that translates best to competitive roundnet. Bump, set, spike, dive/dig, set, spike again, it's clear that every essential attribute is present in this sport. The only downside with volleyball players making the transition to competitive roundnet might be the swinging motion. Volleyball players tend to transition well to roundnet, however the swinging motion is different and can be hard to unlearn/relearn for experienced volleyball players. As many of us know in the roundnet community, a traditional volleyball swing in roundnet (over the top motion) tends to lead to a high bounce off the net creating an easier play for the defensive team to get the ball back on the net. Whereas a successful roundnet swing tends to be a more of a looping downward motion making contact with the ball as close to the net as possible, yielding a lower trajectory and making the ball travel further from the net. For some volleyball players the transition to roundnet isn't as smooth as you might think. Catch us on a different day and we may have given volleyball the top spot.
kaboom! Unpopular opinion? Maybe. However, Ashton Eaton the Gold medal winning American decathlete has previously come out and named tennis the sport that requires the most athleticism. As far as comparing the essential attributes of roundnet to tennis- every criteria is met. Between serving, groundstrokes, volleys, and overheads I've never met a good tennis player with poor hand eye coordination. I'd also argue that Roger Federer has the best hand eye coordination in the world. Although I'd love to hear a debate between tennis players and baseball players over which sport requires more hand-eye (i'm leaning towards tennis). Again you'd be hard pressed to find a successful tennis player with poor quickness and agility. The way Nadal, and Gael Monfils cover the tennis court is incredible to watch- I can only imagine them playing competitive roundnet. Endurance- 5 set, four hour tennis matches are becoming a popular phenomenon these days. 10-20 shot rallies for four hours takes a toll on your body- if you aren't in tip top shape you won't crack the top ten - even top 100 tennis players in the world. Awareness: between hitting behind players who are trying to recover to the center of the court, disguising drop shots in the middle of long rallies, and reading what your opponent might do next- tennis is a sport that requires awareness if you want to compete with the best. Lastly, mental toughness- on the highest level, tennis resembles human chess. It's you (and sometimes a doubles partner) versus your opponents across the net, you don't necessarily have to play your best every day you just need to beat your opponent. Prime example of mental toughness and endurance: John Isner squared off against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010. In total, the match took 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days, with a final score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 (at Wimbledon you have to win the 5th set by two games- there is no tiebreak). To win this match took more than physicality and endurance- it was a mental battle. All of this being said, tennis lands the number one spot as 'Which Sport Best Translates to Competitive Roundnet?' Oh and p.s. I hear Skyler Boles came from a tennis background. #namedrop #sealedthedebate
This is our opinion. The coolest thing about this sport is the variation between elite players. While you may not necessarily agree with our list, I guarantee that you could name several premier players that have come from each of these sports. It's interesting how each foundational sport shapes the type of roundnet player you become. It will be interesting in the next decade or two, to see young kids brought up on Spikeball... It will create a dangerous young breed and solve the issue of debating which sport translates best... since they will be coming from a foundation of Spikeball!
Agree/disagree with our list? Tell us why! Feel free to comment below, or on our Facebook and Instagram,pages (@roundnetworld)!! Since we're sure many of you have strong opinions about this blog post :)