First public court for popular street game opens in Homerton

School children enjoying a game of Pattball

School children enjoying a game of Pattball - Credit: Archant

The first public court for a classic street sport and playground favourite is to open on Saturday.

Pattball, the hand-eye coordination game where players hit a rubber ball against a wall, via a bounce, has been given a revamp by enterprising Stoke Newington resident Moynul Ahmed.

He has worked in conjunction with Hackney Council, Young Hackney and Hackney Homes to install the public Pattball court in Nisbet House, in Homerton High Street.

Mr Ahrmed, 34, of Cazenove Road, had the idea to officialise the game, which has been loved by children for decades, in order to promote an active lifestyle and fight obesity in young people from neighbourhoods with limited facilities.

He said: “The idea came about because there is an ever increasing obesity issue globally and I have family members who are affected by this.

“I thought for many young kids, other than PE, the only time they get to play sport is during a school break but these are short.

“Also traditional sports like tennis are not usual playground sports and you need expensive equipment in a large area. Contact sports in schools could be restricted as teachers get worried.

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“But every school has walls so, without looking at a dull empty wall, why not have dedicated courts to play Pattball? I designed an official court for Pattball based on the dynamics of the game and the plan is now to put these in as many places as possible.

“If everyone is playing on the same format then it will be possible to have tournaments.

“This will naturally in turn lead the game to become an official sport which can be competitive, but most importantly, children can be active and have fun.”

Based on the trajectory of the ball being hit from every angle, the courts are a distinctively semi-circular shape.

Four schools in Hackney have opened Pattball courts, including Urswick School, in Paragon Road, and Mr Ahmed is now in talks with council leisure heads to offer more public courts around the country.

“We have so far 30 schools in eight different London boroughs wanting courts, as well the as the Olympic Park and The Royal Parks. Redbridge council want us to build a ’Wembley’ version of the Pattball court in one of the parks on a greenfield site,” he said.

Mr Ahmed now hopes to get corporate sponsorship and secure partnerships with urban brands to make the game appealable to youngsters.

He said: “I’m like the Bernie Ecclestone of Pattball. Nowadays the street culture is big, if you look at music, hip hop and R‘n’B, it is mainstream and this sport is a real urban sport. Sport and music are intertwined and young people have musicians as role models.

“So, I want to have musicians support Pattball I know for a fact Rudimental, who went to the same school as me, played it and Example has said in interviews it is his favourite sport,” he added.