This section provides a summary of some of the key attributes of Barefoot Hub Ball and compares the score of positive attributes to other sports. And a brief description of some of the differences (to some other sports) is provided.

Attributes of Barefoot Hub Ball (List)

  • Readily available playing surfaces (or can be created easily)
  • No special nets, goalposts, backstops, etc. needed
  • No padding, helmets, shin guards, etc. required
  • No expensive footwear required
  • Sport is designed to minimize injuries to legs and torso
  • Sport is very safe for head (low head & brain injury potential)
  • Sport is very low risk for long term traumatic brain damage (CTE)
  • Teams can be large with 7 or more able to play at a time
  • Free substation & up to 15 to 20 (per side) can play in a game
  • Pickup games with as few as 4 or 5 per side can be easily done
  • Height & bulk size are of no advantage (open to nearly all)
  • Coed play is possible as well as single gender play
  • With no footwear, spiking type injuries are not possible
  • It has barefoot health benefits & green exercise benefits
  • Earthing health benefits are an integral part of the sport
  • The ball is small and easy to handle by anyone
  • Moderate to substantial aerobic workout (in normal play)
  • Age of players at start can be as young as 6
  • No upper age limit likely (85 and beyond is possible)
  • Very low costs to start teams or leagues

A quick comparison to eight other sports (note – all outdoor sports) using these 20 attributes yields the following.

  • Most of the other sports score only 3 to 6 (of the 20)
  • A few sports score 7 or 8 and only one scores 10 or more
  • The next highest other sport scores 13 but that is a disc sport (ultimate), no others are 10 or more

Note – outdoor sand (beach) volleyball was not considered as it is usually played as a doubles sport with no substitutes and therefore not a true team sport with multiple players. Had it been included it also would have scored over 10.

To summarize this list and the comparisons: Barefoot Hub Ball with its 20 out of 20 score has a unique combination of high health benefits with very low risk. It is superior to all other team sports using this comparison list for a total package of health and safety attributes, while adding many other attributes as well.

One other big attribute that Barefoot Hub Ball has that is unique is that there should be very little damage to any soccer field or grass field that is used. Bare feet are “field friendly.” The cleated shoes used in other sports readily tear up soccer (and other) grass fields and especially so when they are wet or damp. This will mean for this sport there will be less maintenance costs for the fields. I did not include this attribute in the list since it is more a plus for the facility and venue managers than for the players or parents of players.

Barefoot Hub Ball (Comparison) Versus American Football  I will refer to American football as “football” in this section. And I am referring to tackle football, not flag football. First, I will mention some similarities of both. Both sports can have a significant number of players be able to play in each game since they both have liberal substation rules. Both are also strongly dependent on team play – great individual play by one or two players with poor teamwork by the other players does not (usually) win games while great teamwork does. Hence both build teamwork. Both sports also can provide a substantial aerobic workout.

The differences are mainly in three areas; safety, costs, and potential for general participation. With regard to safety, the basketball great Bill Russell once commented about football by comparing it to his sport, “Basketball is a contact sport, but football is a collision sport.” Football is a “full contact sport” and a can be fairly called a collision sport. Clearly it is not a sport for everyone to play. It is very ill-suited for women to play (no major women’s leagues exist), and it is likely in my opinion to become less popular in the future due to safety risks that have been discovered.

Football is indeed a collision sport and the potential for injury so much higher than Barefoot Hub Ball it is fair to say they are at opposite ends of the safety spectrum. A wide variety of injuries to the legs, hips, torso, arms, etc. are not only possible but routinely happen in football. The weekly injury report of teams is a good indicator of that. But it is now becoming more clear that concussions and brain jostling in football causes long term effects on the brain in many players. Specifically chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been found in former players of football, and the studies of Dr. Ann McKee and others in recent years show that it may be very widespread. More studies of course are needed. But even with expensive helmets and other equipment including improvements in them and changes in the rules to limit head injuries, there is no easy way to totally eliminate those problems.

Barefoot Hub Ball is not only NOT a collision sport, it has no major contact allowed in the rules. Incidental contact is possible, but the sport has no real potential for the type of head injuries that occur in football. It probably has extremely low potential for CTE, but only time will tell.

Cost is another obvious difference. Again these sports are at opposite ends of the spectrum – Barefoot Hub Ball is very low cost and football is very costly relative to other sports. The equipment for just one player in football can be many hundreds of dollars. Cost for a Barefoot Hub Ball player – typically zero.

Participation in Barefoot Hub Ball is maximized by the nature of the sport not requiring special size, speed, and strength attributes that exist in sports such as football. Those limitations are not necessarily bad, but they limit greatly those who can seriously considered to make a team. The high inclusive nature of Barefoot Hub Ball is a big plus, and it is not possible for any sport that has a limited spectrum of possible players based on size, speed and strength.

Relative to Barefoot Hub Ball, football scored low on the list of attributes. In fairness, that list is heavily weighted for safety and health. With a different set of attributes, perhaps it would score higher. Football is a great spectator sport and makes great spectacle. I was a fan for many years. But not any more. It is not really a sport for the average person to play and get a safe workout, and it is increasingly seen by many who have studied the research by Dr. McKee as risky for the brain.

Barefoot Hub Ball (Comparison) Versus Soccer  Soccer is great as a fitness-oriented sport as it requires players to be very fit and to play continuously. Generally, it is very good as aerobic exercise (outstanding at the highest levels of play) and is even better than Barefoot Hub Ball as an aerobic workout. But it also requires a lot of skills in order to play effectively and that substantially limits the anyone in getting on a team. So skill sets are natural limiting factor to be able to play effectively, or to even be allowed onto a team.

Soccer is a contact sport of course, but it is also a sport where the contact can be malicious. So injuries are very common, especially minor injuries (bruises, cuts, abrasions, getting spiked, etc.). Major injuries are all too common as well and concussions do occur sometimes (much less than in American football). There are a lot of soccer head impacts by balls being headed, or driven into a player’s head, and others such as being intentionally elbowed in the head by another player while jumping to head it, etc. There is not yet any substantial evidence of CTE for soccer. At least there is not for now. However, this could change as more studies are done. Until we know the answer on CTE in soccer, picking a safer sport may be a better alternative. And Barefoot Hub Ball is very safe as stated before.

Another aspect of soccer is the low scoring nature of the sport. Typical scores are 0-0, or 1-0, or 2-1. Scoring goals is generally very difficult. Barefoot Hub Ball is designed to have plenty of scoring. This   has a lot of pluses in its own right (e.g. it is a less frustrating sport for the players and probably will be for the fans as well). But in soccer, one bad call or missed call by a referee can change the outcome in a soccer match. The ref sometimes (not the players) causes the actual outcome. And that happens all too often in my opinion. That is a big drawback for soccer that is not going to be the case in Barefoot Hub Ball except very rarely.

Soccer is the world’s most popular team sport. It helps to bring the world together. We need more sports that can do that. Maybe Barefoot Hub Ball can be one of those sports!

Soccer has its flaws. While I think it has some serious flaws that should (and easily could) be corrected, the sport is not likely to change. Even the use of VAR (video assisted referee) in the 2018 World Cup was much less than it could have been. It is a very conservative sport, administered by a very conservative ruling organization, and it will no doubt stay that way. Barefoot Hub Ball is a much safer sport and has a lot of health benefits that soccer does not have (as listed in the section on benefits). Soccer does not score well on the list of attributes.

Barefoot Hub Ball should be an excellent alternative to soccer going forward, i.e. one that can supplement soccer but not replace it.

Barefoot Hub Ball (Comparison) To Some Other Outdoor Sports  Other outdoor sports were compared to Barefoot Hub Ball and as stated, none scored as much as 10 out of 20 (other than disc ultimate). These included rugby, lacrosse, field hockey, outdoor grass volleyball (played using shoes rather than barefoot and with net on a dirt or grass field), etc. Each has their pluses and minuses, and some are safer than others (e.g. grass volleyball is very safe).

The major point of this comparison section is not to belittle other sports, but to show that Barefoot Hub Ball is much better than any of them from an overall health and safety aspect. It simply delivers the best mix of low risk and high safety with very high health benefits (many of which are unique to this sport), and no significant risk at all for the most serious problems.