The young generation is enthusiastic about Roundnet

“Roundnet” is many things. A trendy sport that is played around a trampoline net and has similarities to beach volleyball. A form of ball game that promotes agility and coordination, increasingly seen in parks and beaches, also called “spikeball.” But there’s one thing Roundnet is definitely not: an activity that’s fun in the pouring rain.

So a visit to the Roundnet department of TuS Berlin 1911 eV is literally a disaster. Because of a sudden thunderstorm, the two department heads, Ariane Ritter and Mareike Karn, abruptly break off the training and flee to a nearby late store for the interview, together with Jannik Riedler, a former department head.

A non-alcoholic beer under a Späti canopy also fits the youthfulness of Roundnet. “It is no coincidence that we are rather young. The average age for us is around 27 years,” says Ritter, who is 28 herself, a year younger than co-leader Karn.

Predecessor Riedler is only 25 and explains: “Roundnet came to Germany from the USA a good seven years ago, through the universities. It was offered in college sports and is currently growing there. Many of those playing are students or ex-students who have just finished. This is reflected in age.” The Instagram and TikTok generation can still be enthusiastic about sports, just in a different way.

The average age of the players is 27 years

“I saw Roundnet for the first time in the park, the second most common place after university to come into contact with it. There I was invited directly to the club,” reports Karn, who has since handed over her co-chairmanship to Alexander Müller since the meeting at Späti.

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“I liked that it was very playful and activating. You are included all the time and are not so quickly ‘overlooked’ in the game. You play two against two, but it feels like you’re playing with each other. You can play it at any level, with more or less effort.”

“There are no limits on the playing field, you can retrieve balls from 15 meters,” enthuses Riedler. “That makes it more dynamic, you cover 360 degrees and everyone has to move.”

So the community was already there, you just needed the club. TuS 1911 already had a section for “Ultimate Frisbee”, also a trendy team sport. “They welcomed us with open arms,” says Rieder. The Roundnet department, founded in 2020, now includes 109 people, and up to 30 come regularly to training, which takes place four times a week in various gyms.

A new artificial turf pitch is urgently needed. “We have a team in the Bundesliga, two each in the second division and in the regional league,” says Ritter, and co-leader Karn adds: “In addition to leagues, there are tournaments on weekends where people from all over Germany see each other. Many people take it very seriously, for me it’s more fun.”

Many people think you can only play this in the park.

Jannik Riedler from the board of the Roundnet Germany association

The existing structure is often underestimated, says Riedler, who sat on the board of the Roundnet Germany association. “There are tournaments every weekend in Germany where at least 100 people jump around, German championships, European and world championships, a Bundesliga with promotion and relegation. A lot of people think you can only play it in the park.”

You never hear criticism that it’s just fashion, not a real sport, says Ritter, but rather curiosity: What is that yellow trampoline there in the grass? “Social media has a lot of influence. A Tik-Tik video from Roundnet Germany had over six million views,” says Rieder. This is important to generate attention. Rieder himself once discovered Roundnet on Instagram and wondered where he could buy the device.

A new kind of sport, with new distribution channels. Only the Späti beer afterwards remains an enduring club classic.

By Editor

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