Volleyball variant ‘teqvoly’ makes British debut
19th February 2020
Douglas Barr-Hamilton was in the crowd as London hosted the Teqvoly Challenger Cup.
William G. Morgan would be baffled. Today's volleyball bears little resemblance to the game he invented at Holyoke YMCA in 1895 and called ‘mintonette’. After changing its name, we introduced switching and penetrating and liberos; we created beach and snow and sitting versions; and we became an Olympic and world sport. But what would he make of teqvoly?
He would not recognise it as volleyball, I suspect, but it was interesting to spend Saturday, 15th February at the University of East London’s (UEL) SportsDock for the London Teqvoly Challenger Cup. This competition was organised by Gary Beckford, of community events and coaching organisation Volleyfirst, for Teqsports, who generously supplied the tables A little bit of research had told me that teqvoly was spun out of a Hungarian innovation called teqball that uses football skills. Someone had the idea of combining the teqball table and the basic elements of volleyball to create a new game with its own rules and scoring system. I understand that a handball variant has also been spawned as well as other games.
More time online told me that the game's popularity has exploded and that the German National Men's Volleyball Team uses it during training, it has proved popular with beach volleyball players and, expanding fast, the first Teqvoly World Championship was staged in Budapest in September 2019. Played for $25,000 in prize money, 16 nations competed and in the final, Poles Michał Włostowski and Jakub Choromański beat the Austrian duo of Michael Bachler and Manuel Fellner.
At UEL, I quickly grasped that teqvoly is played by 2 teams, each of 2 players, on a court with a hexagonal ‘no attack’ area in the centre. In that centre is a table with an upwardly curved surface that looks a bit like a table tennis table with a ‘net’ made of plexiglass. Service takes place behind the area and the ball must touch the table on the opposing side. When there is a service error, a second attempt is allowed. Players have a maximum of 3 touches of the ball as in volleyball and beach volleyball and the final touch must deliver the ball onto the table on your opponents' side. A set is played to the best of 3 games each to 8 points, without the need for a 2 point advantage. The match is then played to the best of 2 sets.
At the London Teqvoly Challenger Cup, play started at 9.30am in the morning and finished after 7pm. With 4 courts and continuous activity, the sports hall was always busy, and the venue's café and rest areas provided perfect opportunities to relax between games. It was clear that most, if not all participants, had played or did play volleyball to a good standard but I was advised that very few had previously played teqvoly, certainly none had competitively. There was an air of concentration around the courts and the variety of moves engendered by players learning the different geometries of the game maintained spectators' attention.
1) Michał Włostowski and Jakub Choromański - world champions, from Poland
2) Marcelo Ross and Michele Mafrici - Spikers
3) Heiner Alzate and Lorenzo Bartolini - Onyx
1) Jana Parmova and Kathi Rud - Orcas
2) Lucia Barbato and Valeria Lantieri - Santry VC, Ireland
3) Natalie Velarde and Laura Konopecka - QMU
I spoke to a few players during the day. Egon Vedris, who usually plays indoors for Malory Eagles, told me that he and his playing partner were adopting tactics they use in beach volleyball and he felt the skills required were similar, although they found positioning difficult and that appreciating the effects of the curve of the table required practice. Rose Benedetti, a member of Polonia Ladies, agreed that the skills were similar although there was no need to block or to jump - something older players with bad knees might welcome. She too agreed that they had to pay more attention to positioning and found that shots needed greater precision: the downward curve of your opponents' side of the table was difficult to hit and the ball touching the "net" was a fault. For all of them it was a day of learning, a day of pleasure, a day of fun even and a great opportunity to experience the pleasure that all sport gives.
As for what Willian G. Morgan would have thought, I’m not too sure – but I suspect he would have loved it.