Here at Hoops we love to making new friends and finding interesting new sports. So when we heard about Switch, we had to get in touch and introduce ourselves! Fortunately, founder Danny Hibbert liked the sound of Hoops too, so now we’re going to be working together closely going forwards. To start, we spoke to Danny – a former Queens Park Rangers youth coach – to find out just what Switch is, and how you guys can get playing.
Hi Danny, hope you’re well. Can you start by telling our readers what Switch is exactly?
Morning! So Switch is a hybrid sport that combines five different sports on one pitch.
The pitch is split into three sections – the middle section is football only and the two ends are hands only.
You’re only allowed seven seconds on the ball in the hand zones, and you score by throwing it into the goal. If you set somebody and they score with a volleyball smash, that’s two points.
That sounds rather interesting! How did you come up with that then?
In 2012 the Olympics and Paralympics came to London, and I was watching it and I was in awe of all of the athletes.
I was shocked and inspired by how people for Team GB, somebody like Greg Rutherford who not many people had heard of, could turn up on the day and win the gold! It was phenomenal, phenomenal stuff.
I watched loads of sports, I went down to Olympic Park and watched it live, and it just inspired me to create a new sport. I just got it in my mind that that’s what I should do, even though I didn’t know what it was going to be!
Then about two months later I just woke up in a sweat with this idea in my head. I wrote it down on my phone and within 25 minutes, there was Switch.
Sounds like divine inspiration! So you had the idea, how did you make it a reality?
Next year in 2013 I was working doing coaching in schools, so I started piloting my game, and it was successful. I could see it was the type of sport that just works.
Since then I’ve worked at special needs schools, secondary and primary schools – over 5000 people have played it.
I’ve also been to Jamaica working with Team Jamaica – the guys who work with Usain Bolt and Yohann Blake – in 2016. We were there for two weeks teaching young athletes Switch.
We’ve done loads of festivals, spreading the word, and now we’re about to branch out and start taking this further.
What is it about Switch that is making it such a success?
t’s so inclusive. It’s girls and boys on the same pitch – you don’t get that in many sports, maybe Korfball is the only other I can think of.
Within three or four minutes, people just pick it up and get the game. And because it’s so new, everybody’s on the same playing field.
The great thing is, people are creating their own moves when they do something new. They’ll do something in the game, completely natural, and we’re like “wow, what was that!?”
We’ve had 14 moves created so far, so what we do is we name it after the kid who’s created it. People love that they can immortalise themselves in the game like that, we have kids who are trying everything they can to create their own move, and that encourages creativity. It gets them really excited.
Time for switch sport!
— Sporting Equals (@SportingEquals) July 12, 2017
I wouldn’t mind coming up with the Switch equivalent of a Maradona or a Cruyff turn myself! How are you planning on moving the sport forward?
We’re looking to make partnerships, we’re speaking to a lot of people who want to help us push the sport, and I’m talking about people like Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust. And Hoops of course!
People who are really excited about the game.
It’s so versatile – you can use it for fitness, you can use it as an introduction to other sports or you can play it for the sport itself. It’s inter-sex, and it can be played indoor or outdoor, on grass, hardcourt, beach, wherever.
On the beach it is amazing. We tried it in Jamaica, Brighton, Bournemouth – we want to do more of it. And that’s where you can bring in food, music, family, it’d make a great day.
You can play it on any surface you want. We’ve even come up with an adaption of how you can play it in a swimming pool!
Cool! Finally, how would you sell Switch to people? Why should they go out and look to get involved?
If you like sport, you must try Switch – it’s as simple as that. It’s a fast-paced game where you can create anything you want within that.
It’s so creative you can pretty much do anything you want to do.
It’s like a blank canvas where you can turn up, improvise and just play the way you feel.
Hoops is now available in app stores, so you can use us to find opportunities for any sport or fitness activity you can think of. Simply click here to download the app for Android, and here for iOS – or search for Hoops Connect.
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