SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Nearly 20 players gathered at Brookside Park in Scotch Plains for the inaugural United Powerball League clinic as their introduction to the emerging sport of Powerball on Wednesday, June 5.
Powerball is a field variation of team handball. It is a fast paced, semi-contact, team sport, that demonstrates pure athleticism. The objective is to score points by throwing the ball into the opponent's goal. The game is simple - requires 1 ball, 2 goals, and 12 players split on two teams. Powerball includes elements and skills associated with sports like Team Handball, Soccer, Football, and Basketball. Olympic Team Handball is usually played on a hard court, although variations are played on sand (Beach Handball) and grass (Powerball or Field Handball).
Damon Mitchell, the founder of the UPL, helped lead the clinic in Scotch Plains and is working with local sports leaders David Weinberg and Andrew Bondarowicz to build the sport of Powerball in the area through a 5-week series of free clinics.
“Handball is only behind soccer as the second largest team sport over in Europe and it is also very popular in Latin America too,” says Bondarowicz, “It is that sport that after every Olympic cycle people ask ‘Why isn’t it more popular in the United States?’ Well, Powerball is a more conducive version that we felt would have a great chance to resonate here as many local soccer coaches use Field Handball in their practices, so we lobbied Damon to start this clinical program here.”
“With Scotch Plains’ deep roots in soccer, it is only a natural extension to look at our community to launch this program," Weinberg added. "We have many great athletes here, many who run out of opportunities in other sports by the time they get to high school. So, we love the fact that this program offers a fast and fun new sport for kids to get involved and even provide exposure for them to be potentially discovered for junior and senior national team programs for Team Handball."
The clinics provide education about the rules of Powerball, offensive and defensive tactics, as well as technique. Each session, the players will develop and challenge their skills through scrimmages and pick-up games. At the end of the 5 weeks, the program will host a Powerball Tournament from teams comprised of kids involved in the program on June 23rd – also known as Olympic Day as it is was the first day of the modern Olympic Games in 1896.
The next clinic will be on Wednesday, June 12, at Brookside Park. Pre-registration for the Scotch Plains clinics is available through the recreation department’s Community Pass site. For more information on the game, visit www.powerballleague.com.