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Our old house had a long and narrow garden, which meant that Swingball wasn’t an option for us as it simply wasn’t wide enough, however, we moved in the summer and now have a much larger garden and one of the first things that I did was to purchase a Swingball for my two sons, just because I could and now we play with wild abandon having been restricted for so long! I cannot imagine that there are many people who have never played/heard of Swingball. It is a classic garden game that has been around since the late seventies and has changed very little in its time. Quite basically it is a tennis ball attached to a string which swings around a pole in a helical fashion as two opposing players use their forehand and backhand to hit the ball.
The Swingball arrives in a box requiring assembly which is an extremely simple procedure – three poles simply slide into the two provided connectors that are made of sturdy plastic, but you obviously ensure that you put the pole with the ball attached on the top! My eight year old put ours together so it must be simple! It also comes apart quickly to make it easily transportable so it is perfect to take with you if you are going camping or to the beach.
Mookie Classic Swingball is so called as they also have an updated version of Swingball where the base can be filled with either sand or water and used on any surface, but this Classic Swingball has a spike on the end which pushes into the ground. The spike drives about 10 inches into the ground which is enough to make it very stable and I think that it is better than the style with a large base as it is a lot stronger – it has the whole ground anchoring it down as opposed to just a small box, and even though it is not “all surface” it is still portable in that it can go into grass or sand.
The Swingball comes with two very chunky red plastic bats and they have to be sturdy because you can really take out all of your aggression and hit this ball satisfyingly hard! One of the things that I really like about this version of the game is that it has a holder in the middle of the pole for both of the bats so when you are not playing they can be stored neatly and are not left lying around the garden where they are liable to get misplaced or trodden on and broken.
The aim of Swingball is to get the ball to the top (or the bottom, depending on which direction you are playing) I had Swingball when I was younger and it had a spring which popped up when you got there, but this version does not so it is not immediately clear when you get there and if you were playing competitively you night need an adjudicator but for kids just messing about in the garden this shouldn’t be an issue! The string has a piece of plastic tubing near the ball, ensuring that if you hit the string instead of the ball by accident, it doesn’t get all tangled up around the bat handle this is really simple but effective and I like the thinking behind it.
Swingball is an absolute classic and it is easy to see its attraction. It takes up barely any room when it’s not in use and is a really fun and energetic game. Ten minutes of this can get you quite sweaty if you put your back into it – me and hubs have had many feisty competitive games once we’ve pushed the children off! If you over exert yourself and the ball flies off the string, replacements are available but we have given ours some really rough treatment and have not had to go down that road yet. I think that this is a solid and good quality piece of play equipment and I like it a lot - anything that gets children (and adults alike) into fresh air and using up energy will always get a thumbs up from me and so I would recommend this highly.
I bought our Swingball from Amazon for what I consider to be great value at £15 but it is widely available in toy shops and on the internet.
Also posted on Dooyoo under my username emmachilcott