While many of us have enjoyed popular team sports like football, basketball or netball, few can say they've tried touch rugby, tchoukball, captain’s ball, kin-ball or pickleball. However, that's changing quickly as these once-niche sports are gaining fans rapidly. For instance, pickleball has been named the fastest-growing sport in America over the last three years and is becoming popular among Singaporeans of all ages. Similarly, tchoukball’s popularity has surged locally, especially after the Singapore women’s team climbed to the global No. 1 rank.


If you’re curious about these games and missed the Public Service Beach Games 2024 on June 29 — which featured touch rugby and captain’s ball — don’t worry. The upcoming Public Service Sports & Family Day 2024 on 27 Jul will provide plenty of opportunities to try them. Learning a new sport offers benefits beyond fitness. Studies show that acquiring new physical skills in adulthood is linked to brain growth. Team sports also allow you to bond with loved ones or make new friends as you discover the game together.


Before you dive into the action, check out our quick explainer of each game:



Touch Rugby

How to play: The sport is played by two teams of six players, and is more inclusive than traditional rugby, featuring mixed-gender formats in addition to men’s and women’s. Player contact is minimal, with no tackling or physical force allowed. Instead, as attacking players move up the length of the field to attempt a try, defending players must touch the opponent carrying the ball to stop their advance. 


Fun fact: A point is awarded for each successful try. However, in some mixed-gender games — to encourage active participation — a female player may be awarded two points for scoring a try.


Why you should play: It’s a sport that can be played on a field or at the beach by people of all ages and genders, making it ideal for diverse groups.


Where to play: Kids can join touch rugby at the SCC Rugby Academy and the Tanglin Rugby Club. The Singapore Touch Rugby Group on Meetup welcomes both experienced adult players and beginners. To book a venue, try Stadio Futsal at CSC @ Tessensohn for an astroturf surface, or head to the beach near CSC @ Changi.





How to play: Pronounced “chook-ball,” this seven-a-side game involves scoring points by shooting the ball at any of the two rebound frames on either end of the court. Teams have a maximum of three passes before shooting, and the ball must rebound to the field of play without being intercepted by the opposing team. Players are not allowed to come into physical contact with each other or use their legs below the knee to handle the ball.


Fun fact: The name “tchoukball” comes from the sound the ball makes when it hits the frame.


Why you should play: Since teams can score at both ends, players engage in both attack and defence, making it a fun and flexible choice for those who dislike being confined to a single position.


Where to play: Join the Public Service Fun Tchoukball Challenge at Public Service Sports and Family Day 2024. The Tchoukball Association of Singapore also organises free public try-outs with partners like Tampines Hub and Sport Singapore. 


Photo from Play! Pickle




How to play: Pickleball is played with paddles on a court the size of a badminton court. It combines elements of table tennis, badminton and tennis. Two teams of two players face off across a net, starting with a diagonal serve from the right side. Points are scored when an opponent faults, such as serving above waist-level or hitting the ball into the net. The minimum score to win a game is 11 points, but you must win by a margin of two points. If your team reaches 11 points and your opponent has 10, you'll need to score another point to make it 12-10 or continue playing until you have a two-point lead.


Fun fact: Created in 1965, pickleball has nothing to do with preserved vegetables. The game was named by its inventors after one of their dog, Pickles.


Why you should play: With simple rules, lightweight equipment and a small court size, pickleball is easy to pick up, especially for children and the elderly. The compact paddle also helps players improve their hand-eye and neuromuscular coordination, 


Where to play: The Public Service Pickleball Challenge 2024, part of Public Service Sports and Family Day 2024, features men’s and women’s doubles, as well as Masters mixed doubles. Additionally, the Singapore Pickleball Social Group on Meetup is very active, while Play! Pickle offers classes for kids and adult beginners, as well as social sessions and family classes. CSC @ Tessensohn has badminton courts that can easily double as pickleball venues.



Captain’s Ball


How to play: Often played in schools as a mixed-gender game, Captain’s Ball consists of two teams of five players, ideally with two females and three males per team. Goal catchers, who stand on a raised pedestal or chair, must hold the ball with both hands for three seconds to score a point. They are supported by two shooters on the ground, while the other players move around the court to prevent opponents from taking possession and scoring. Shooters try to pass the ball to the goal catcher to score.


Fun fact: The rules make it a sport with very low physical contact. Players cannot knock the ball out of a goal catcher's hands, and if a player has possession of the ball, they cannot move from the spot. The ball must be passed to another teammate to progress towards the goal catcher.


Why you should play: Captain’s Ball is a low-impact sport that's easy to pick up, good for mixed-age and mixed-gender groups. The game uses a volleyball or a soft, inflated ball, making it safe and less intimidating for younger players.


Where to play: If There’s an active Meetup group with over 1,000 members called Captain’s Ball in the North, which holds twice-a-month sessions in Khatib. To organise your own games, check out the multi-purpose court at CSC @ Loyang.


Photo from Facebook/singaporekinball Kin-Ball Association of Singapore




How to play: Kin-Ball is perhaps the most unconventional sport on our list. Three teams of four players, identified by colours, compete in a single match. The attacking team, which has possession of the ball, calls out ‘Omnikin’ followed by the colour of the defending team. The defending team must catch the ball using any part of their body, preventing it from touching the floor. If the ball is dropped, the other two teams score a point, and the defending team becomes the attacking team. The ball is much larger than usual, requiring the effort of the entire team to keep it off the ground.


Fun fact: Despite its comically oversized appearance, the Kin-Ball, measuring 1.2m to 1.5m in diameter, weighs only 1kg.


Why you should play: Kin-Ball is suitable for players as young as seven due to the lightweight ball. Its strong focus on teamwork and inclusivity ensures that even less physically fit players can have fun and play an essential role in the game.


Where to play: Experience Kin-Ball at the Public Service Fun Kin-Ball Challenge, part of Public Service Pickleball Challenge 2024. The Kin-Ball Association of Singapore also regularly holds learning sessions for kids and adults. 

Taking up a new ball game isn’t just about trying a new sport – it also opens doors to new interests, new friendships and new ways to bond with loved ones. Click here on how you can enjoy the various featured sports with fellow Public Service Officers. Happy playing!

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