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Is there an individual competitive sport based on kicking or throwing an object with the feet?

  • Many individual sports are based on throwing an object with the hands: shot put, javelin, darts, bowling, disc golf, boomerang, etc. The goal might be distance, precision or even time.

  • Other individual sports are based on hitting an object with an implement: golf, racket sports, billard.

  • Many team sports are based on kicking an object with the feet: football, rugby, sepak takraw, etc.

I am looking for a performance-oriented individual sport where the primary motion is based on kicking. The goal could be distance, precision, time, bounces.

If these don't exist competitively, I'm also OK with net-based sports like tennis or wall-based sports like basque pelota but one vs one and with the feet.

I am categorizing all sports by the primary human motion involved and I have some holes in my classification.

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    So I thought of hacky sack which I have only ever played as a kick around, but unless the internet is trolling me, apparently there are some games that are or can be one on one that resemble say volleyball or frisbee golf, but with a kicked footbag. Left as a comment because I have no authority on this but here is a link. itsridic.com/collections/hacky-sacks
    – Damila
    Sep 13, 2023 at 3:38
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    Wikipedia mentions snookball - but the Wikipedia article is very short. (There is a longer article on the French Wikipedia - but I do not speak French.) I have mentioned it at least in a comment - maybe somebody around here knows more about this sport and might be able to provide an answer.
    – Martin
    Sep 15, 2023 at 11:01
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    @Martin If it helps, here's an English-language source about snookball provided by a venue where it can be played
    – Silverfish
    Sep 15, 2023 at 19:09

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There is FootGolf - which combines Football and Golf - where the object of the game is to get the football-sized ball into the cup in the fewest number of shots, just like in Golf.

It has its own governing body, the Federation for International FootGolf, which governs the rules of the sport and organises competitions, including the recently-concluded FootGolf World Cup in Orlando, Florida.

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There are several well-established East Asian kicking-based sports that have individual forms.

Sipa was the national sport of the Philippines until 2009. Very roughly, it’s like the net-based layout of tennis with the soft ball and kicking techniques of hacky-sack; it’s played by individuals or small teams. It’s an old traditional sport (pre-colonial), mostly an informal street game but with at least some formalised play in recent decades.

Jianzi is a closely related Chinese game, based on keeping a shuttlecock-like item off the ground by kicking; it also has both small-team and individual versions.

And, of course, in the US there is Hacky-sack itself (a genericised trademark name, sometimes known as footbag instead), involving keeping a soft ball off the ground by kicking. This doesn’t have much formalised play, but is very widespread as an informal game, in solo, one-on-one, and small-group forms.

[Disclaimer: I really don’t know these sports myself, I’ve just read about them a little on the internet, and am adding them since they’re not yet mentioned in other answers. If someone who knows them properly can add a better answer on them or improve this one, that would be great!]

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"Panna" is a football variant played one on one in a very small area with tiny goals; the winner is determined either by the player who has scored the most goals after a certain time, or by completing a panna (nutmeg) on the opponent.

It's mostly used as a skill training drill, but there does seem to be an at least semi-official world championship.

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    Thanks! I've seen a 2v2 variant of this but didn't know this existed. It looks very technical. Sep 13, 2023 at 22:11
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There's Kick Darts (a.k.a Soccer Darts). The goal is as simple as the name: kick a football to a (giant) dart board and count the points.

I played the game, but can't tell you if there's anything official (like a board/association or a competition) about it.

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For 1-on-1 (or 2-on-2), check out Teqball!

It's played on a curved table that looks somewhat like a table tennis table.

It's fun to watch on youtube. Not restricted to feet though. You can hit the ball with any part of your body except hands and arms.

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Though technically a team sport, the kicking aspect of Kickball seems to qualify: you're not really kicking the ball to somebody and the more air time and distance you can achieve, the better (usually).

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There is an Inuit game called high-kick: https://beyondpenguins.ehe.osu.edu/issue/peoples-of-the-arctic/arctic-survival-skills-traditional-inuit-games

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Several martial arts are famously centred around kicking to the near-complete exclusion of hand techniques. These may be relevant for the OP, since kicking is the primary skill concerned.

Taekwondo

Like all martial arts, taekwondo includes both hand and foot techniques. In competition though, a punch can only score one point - and even then it must make "strong contact". In contrast, kicks score 2-5 points depending on difficulty. The result is that competitive taekwondo sparring almost never features punching, and in fact a fighting style has evolved which almost entirely removes the use of hands. The front leg is raised as a guard instead, jabbing or blocking with roundhouse kicks, and the hands are kept around waist-height and used almost exclusively for balance and nothing else. Fighters almost never enter punching range - and when they do, they always use kicks instead.

Savate

Modern savate is a form of kickboxing. Historical savate though used only feet with some open-hand slaps added, because French law at the time considered a closed fist to be a lethal weapon. Since historical practitioners would be wearing heavy wooden clogs too, kicking was greatly more effective than any hand technique.

Capoeira

The style of capoeira is centred around a kind of gymnastic flow, but strikes are almost all carried out with feet. One historical theory is that as a martial art practised by slaves, they could not rely on hands which would often be shackled.

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  • That's three answers. Please post them separately so that they may be voted upon and accepted separately.
    – Chenmunka
    Sep 17, 2023 at 17:32
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    @Chenmunka I intended it to be one general answer of "kicking-based martial arts" with three examples. Martial arts do have distinctive features, but IMO they have too much in common to be worthy of individual answers.
    – Graham
    Sep 17, 2023 at 17:43
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Wikipedia mentions snookball although the current revision of the Wikipedia article is very short. (There is a longer article on the French Wikipedia - for people who speak French.) One of the comments suggested this website as a source of futher information:

The principle of the game is based on pool, but the balls are replaced by footballs and the cue by a pair of feet. The name Snookball comes from a legendary pool move: the snooker, which occurs when a player is obstructed from taking a shot in a straight line by an opponent's ball.

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  • I have made this answer a community wiki - do not hesitate to edit it further if you know more about this sport.
    – Martin
    Sep 23, 2023 at 9:17
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This may seem too obvious, but what about sports where the object you kick, is your opponent.

Such as MMA etc.

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    Not my DV but I think you missed the point here. "[...] where the primary motion is based on kicking.": that's one of @Joan criteria. I can't find scientific data about the ratio but 50:50 (punches:kicks) seems to be a fair number (also depending on the fighter's style) and is generally agreed upon. So, yes, MMA has kicking, but definitely not as a "primary skill".
    – OldPadawan
    Sep 15, 2023 at 6:41
  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Sep 15, 2023 at 9:06
  • @OldPadawan Having said that, rugby made the "kicking" list in the OP. Kicks are an important part of that sport but use of hands certainly outnumbers use of feet in any statistical comparison. Perhaps rugby's inclusion on that list wasn't intended, but if rugby counts as a kicking game, various martial arts are.
    – Silverfish
    Sep 15, 2023 at 19:13
  • @Silverfish: fair enough :)
    – OldPadawan
    Sep 15, 2023 at 19:20
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Hacky-sack has already been mentioned, but there are a variety of individual forms of keepie-uppie (aka keep-ups or kick-ups) generally played with an association football. This can include competitive individual records such as number of kick-ups, running a race, furthest distance travelled without ball hitting the ground, etc. More at Wikipedia. Obviously keepie-uppie can be played both competitively and non-competitively, and as a team or individually.

The traditional Japanese game of kemari (see Wikipedia) is similar but players are expected to cooperate so this doesn't fit the criteria of an individual competitive sport.

However, balloon might fit the bill. This is a competitive individual sport that in many respects resembles keepie-uppie. However, it is played with a balloon rather than a ball, both hands and feet can be used (rugby was included on the "kicking an object" list despite mostly using the hands, so hopefully this is fine), is one-vs-one with players alternating to strike the balloon, and though the balloon must be struck upwards, the aim is not to keep it in play but rather try to make it hit the floor before your opponent can return it. The Guardian has an article including videos of play.

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