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December 12, 2020 2 min read

Discover Picigin, a beach sport from Croatia that inspired Kickit

Among historic games, the playing area varies in size, shape, and terrain. Few, however, are played beach-side in shallow water. Meet Picigin, the ball game from Croatia that is played in on the beach. This great game is one of the inspirations behind Kickit, and this article covers the game from A to Z.

History of Picigin

Originally played on Bacvice beach in Split, Picigin was first played in 1908 by a group of students from Prague who weren’t able to play water polo because the water was too shallow. Instead, they invented their own game, which came to be known as Picigin and is still played today. Since WWI, Picigin has been played at Bacvice using the same rules. The name is thought to originate from the musical term pizzicato, meaning plucked.

How to Play Picigin

Players form a circle and bat a small ball with their hands, with the objective of keeping the ball in the air and out of the water for as long as possible. The players don’t catch the ball, they constantly hit it from player to player using the palm of their hands. As a result, the game is much like net-less volleyball, though the ball is much smaller. 

Older man playing Picigin in Croatia


There is no set number of players, but five is the typical number that participates in a game of Picigin. There is a lot of running and diving to keep the ball from falling into the water. Since Picigin is non-competitive, there are no opposing sides, points, winners, or losers. The ball is 2-4 inches/5-10 cm in diameter and is very light. The true spirit of Picigin is the acrobatics of the players, which is one of the objectives of the game.

Championships

Though traditionally a non-competitive sport, since 2005, the Picigin World Championship is organized annually on Split beach Bacvice. Since 2008, the winner is selected based on the artistic impression of jumps, saves, leaps, etc. that are assigned points by a judging panel. 

Tradition

New Years Picigin is an important tradition for the most fanatical players, some of whom play the entire year. When you consider that the typical water temperature on January 1 in Split is only 50 F / 10 C, that is certainly a tradition that not everyone would be enthusiastic about! Nonetheless, the only weather condition that really affects the ability to play Picigin is the wind due to the low weight of the ball.

Man diving playing Picigin

Conclusion

To see the best Picigin players in the world, you really have to travel to Croatia and hang out on the beautiful beaches of Split. Lucky for you, Kickit can be in your own back yard in just a few clicks.

Our Kickit Sport Pack is perfect for a fun game with you and your friends any time, anywhere. Improve your fitness, your coordination, your balance, and have fun doing it while you make new friends eager to learn Kickit. 

Maybe you can even develop enough skills with Kickit to make an impression in Croatia!