This is a cultural change sport. It is a sport for people to play, get great exercise, release stress, make friends, and have fun. It is not designed for the corporate world to commercialize. It is designed for the next wave in sports – to maximize health benefits with minimal safety risks and nearly zero costs. It is a 21st Century sport. It is time to move beyond the 20th Century sports and get back to simple, clean fun.

Barefoot Hub Ball is a sport invented in 2017 by Tom A. Kutscher that offers a low contact, outdoor team sports experience that is as natural, healthy, safe, and participation-oriented as possible. The basic concept is somewhat similar to the flying disc sport Ultimate where the objective is to make a series of throws and catches that lead to getting into an end zone to score. In Barefoot Hub Ball a ball is used (not a disc). A grass field similar to but smaller than a soccer field is used. A ball is thrown and caught by one team as the other team tries to intercept or block the throws. If a team completes a series of throws into the other side’s end zone a point is scored.

An additional point (or points) can then be made and is called a hub shot. A successful toss into a hub scores one or two points – one point for a short throw that gets into the hub and two for a longer one. The hub is a small square area in the middle of each end zone.

So the basic game is a series of throws and catches to get into the other side’s end zone, and then scoring an added hub shot score.  The sport requires the person with the ball to throw it within a designated number of seconds.  There are several ways that a team with possession can turn over the ball possession to the other side. One of these is not getting the throw made within the time limit, but there are others such as taking more steps (in the throwing motion) than are allowed.

The game has a lot of rules that prohibit physical contact. While it is possible, in fact likely, that players can make some physical contact with each other, and in some cases even collide, as with any sport with free movement on an open field, the penalties are more strict than other free movement sports. This should reduce both intentional and unintentional contact. Ideally there will be almost no physical contact between the players other than some slight incidental contact. But it is not possible to have zero – even in sports such as volleyball where a net separate the teams’ players they can still run into a teammate on their side of the net (e.g. as they chase down a ball in the air).

Contact is severely penalized and discouraged in this sport but as stated still possible. This sport is therefore “low contact” not “zero contact”. So while this sport should have MUCH less physical contact than American football. soccer, rugby, lacrosse, field hockey, and other common field sports, it cannot be zero. It may be called near-zero contact.

This sport is designed to be as safe as possible for the brain within the limits of reasonability. As we now know, serious brain injuries and repeated hits to the head in other sports can result in CTE.  This sport should have a very low probability of players getting CTE since it is designed to minimize the type of injuries that cause or contribute to CTE.

In addition to being a low contact sport, this sport eliminates spiking and cleating of another player by a player using their spiked/ cleated footwear. Since it is a barefoot sport, that type of injury cannot occur. Spiking is often done intentionally or “unintentionally (i.e. on purpose)” via dangerous play in soccer (and other sports). The absence of footwear removes that scenario and in fact any scenario where a player wants to harm another player using their footwear (any footwear, cleats or no cleats).

The fun of playing outdoor kids games on grass (or dirt) barefoot is an experience most of us adults over 40 had at some point in our youth. Kids today in the USA are often discouraged from being barefoot outdoors. This is a mistake. This deprives them of the sensory experience of contacting the grass and earth. It also limits the ability to develop strong, healthy feet. This sport removes that deprivation and brings back the fun of bare feet in an outdoor field sport. Earthing benefits alone are substantial. (See the next section on Benefits of Barefoot Hub Ball).

Barefoot Hub Ball is a green exercise. It meets the basic requirements for that term (green exercise) as it allows for full physical contact with natural surfaces and with nature.  The playing surface must be natural – no artificial surface is allowed. Barefoot Hub Ball on an artificial surface would be “artificial barefoot hub ball” and would be bogus. The connection to nature is essential.

The sport is very participation oriented. Eight players per side (maximum) play at any time. Also a match may start with less than eight to assure that undesirable forfeits will be rare.  The sport has free substitution that also maximizes player participation. A team can have as many as 20 on it and easily use all 20 in a match (if they choose to).

Coed play is possible and the rule differences are fairly minor.

The sport is designed for age 6 and on up. In theory even players 5 and younger could play. No age limits (actual or de facto) on the upper end are likely to occur – senior citizens can play this sport theoretically at any age.  And very young players can safely play once they can throw and catch a ball and follow basic rules. (Note; a smaller ball, a smaller field, and other modifications are in the rules for young players).

To summarize, Barefoot Hub Ball is:

  • A safe, fun-oriented outdoor sport on a grass outdoor playing field that is comfortable for barefoot play.

  • As a barefoot sport it is unique – the only outdoor field sport in which footwear is expressly not allowed and injuries from footwear are not possible. (Note – other outdoor field sports may allow barefoot play, such as grass volleyball or disc ultimate, but it is only optional, not required.)

  • Barefoot earthing (or grounding) free electron health benefits are maximized – being barefoot on grass is perfect for being electrically earthed.

  • The sport has low likelihood of causing head injuries or long term brain trauma if played safely and properly.

  • The sport requires absolutely no expensive equipment such as goalposts, nets, supports, etc. and no expensive equipment or accessories are needed for the players such as helmets, shin guards, pads, shoes, etc.

So in conclusion, Barefoot Hub Ball is a new sport that by design has removed or minimized many of the risks of most other outdoor sports including the most substantial risks.  And it enhances the health benefits, green exercise benefits, and maximum participation. It is a sport for the 21st Century.