Valencian pilota is a traditional handball sport played in the Valencian Community. Its origins are not known, but seem to be related to the French Jeu de paume.
The ball is struck with a bare, or almost bare, hands. The general rule involves two teams made from two up to five players each.
The second characteristic is that it is not played against a wall. Instead, similar to modern tennis, two individuals or teams are placed face to face separated either by a line on the ground or a net. A distinctive trait of Valencian pilota is that the spectators are often seated or standing very close to the court which means that they may be hit by the ball and thus become apart of the game.
Every version of the game uses its own kind of ball. Each ball is different in weight, size, the way it bounces and other aspects. They are all handmade by specialized crafters.
- Badana ball: Used for Llargues, it is a soft ball which can be played without any protection, since llargues are played on the streets. The bounce is very irregular, causing the ball to be almost incapable of regular bouncing. It is made of rags and sheep skin, and usually weighs 39 grams with a diameter of 38 mm.
- Galotxetes ball: Used only for Galotxetes, it is very big and heavy, but it can be played without protection. It cannot bounce. It is made of rags with sticking pasters. It weighs 60 grams with a diameter of 70 mm.
- Tec ball: Used for Valencian frontó: a very fast and bouncing ball. Because it is very tough, protection is required. The ball takes its name after its characteristic sound. It is made of wood, and covered with goat skin. The ball usually weighs 48-50 grams and has a diameter of 50 mm.
- Vaqueta ball: Used for Escala i corda and Raspall, it is a very fast ball and bounces well. Players must wear protecting equipment. It is made of wood and covered with leather. It weighs 40-42 grams and has a diameter of 42 mm.
Photo 1 – http://www.dival.es/sala-prensa/content/configurados-los-equipos-de-la-xx-lliga-de-raspall-trofeu-diputacio-de-valencia
Photo 2 – http://www.pinterest.com/pin/452259987549423505/