Sports are equally, if not more important, to a civilization’s culture as music, arts and food. As a form of entertainment, sports evoke a unique passion in people that gives them a sense of pride, belonging, identity and especially, patriotism. Whether it’s soccer, rugby, tennis, horse racing or athletics, people love to follow and support local teams. Some areas, however, are home to local sports which are often not played on a widespread scale but have a limited following.
Takatà is one such sport. It is a traditional beach sport which is played exclusively in Barcelona. The sport is not well known anywhere else in the world apart from here and even then it is a case of who you meet. It is played along the Barceloneta Beach and often attracts Barcelonans and tourists who enjoy the excitement of the unheard-of game.
There are 2 official clubs that play the sport, the Barcelona Swimming Club and Club Athletic Barcelona. Both clubs have permanent facilities which enable the sport to be played year round. Barcelona’s largest Takatà competition is the Torneo Vicenç Batlle which can have quite a large following.
Conceived in 1914 by Barcelonan beach goers, Takatà is a variation of beach volleyball, played with a tennis ball. Typically, it is played in pairs but it can also be played in singles and even triples. Played in the sand on the beach, the field measures 6 metres wide and 14 metres long with a net spanning across the centre at 1.6 metres high.
Similarly, to volleyball, the objective of the game is to hit the ball into the other team’s court but with the palm of your hand. If the team overshoots the court or hits it wide, the point goes to the other team. A repeat serve occurs if the ball hits the net, and the ball must be hit in an upward direction and not slammed down onto the other team’s court as this will not permit a point. Catching the ball and double hitting are also not valid. A game can be played up to 22, 40 or even 60 points, depending on the organisers or the competition and must be won by a difference of 2 points.
Where to play
With the weather getting warmer, be sure to keep an eye out along Barceloneta for any locals playing Takatà in the sand and try to get involved. Or you could organise your own game on the beach and instead of a net just draw a court in the sand with a line across the middle. All you need is a tennis ball, which you can find at Decathlon.
Help keep the sport alive.