If you are new to the game of Headis, you’re in for a fantastic surprise. Headis is an edgy version of table tennis, with a whole lot of ‘football’ style headering. The game is relatively new – it was first played in 2006 – and it has almost reached cult status. Headis videos online have gone viral several times, and that is because of the speed, the thrill, the excitement and the skill that is all connected to the game.
How did Headis start?
A group of friends, soccer players, were ready for a game of soccer in Kaiserslautern Germany, to find their pitch was occupied.
While they waited, with their adrenalin pumping, they found a tennis-table. There was no ball and no bats and so – what’s a group of sport crazy friends to do? They created their own game. They made a ball out of rubber and they used the best possible bats they could find – their own heads.
This was in 2006 and the game has come a long way since then. There are organised championships and tournaments, people travel to watch and to play Headis, there are world rankings and the game has amassed a huge following.
Where did Headis get its name?
German sport student and soccer player René Wegner came up with the name when he and his fellow sportsmen started playing it.
The name or the word can be broken down into two sections:-
- Head – using the Head, as in a header
- Is – using the Is from the ending of tennis, or the ending of table-tennis.
The game is table-tennis, but using heads as bats, bodies for power, and a ball that may just hurt your head if you get it wrong!
Is Headis an Extreme Sport?
Headis is definitely not a racket sport, but it would be far-fetched to call it an extreme sport.
It’s not like mountain climbing or cliff jumping; it offers its own kind of adrenaline. Yes, it’s played with a table that is the same size as a table tennis table, and it’s played with a small ball, but the speed and the excitement are palpable.
Given that players use their heads to hit the ball, it could be considered extreme, but remember the ball is small and made of rubber! Players do need strength as the rules allow for their bodies to be used, both on and off the table, making it a sport of great skill, speed and strength.
Brief History of Headis
Now first things first, if your appetite has been whetted enough and you want to go in-depth understanding the rules of Headis, check our guide here. You can then move on to get bit of history of Headis below.
- The game was first created in 2006.
- The first European Championships took place nine years later, in 2015.
- The European Championships were in Eurokonstantia in Konstanz.
- There are four major European participants – Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Czech Republic.
- The Dominican Republic and Slovakia joined in.
- Today over 17 countries participate in Headis tournaments and championships, including Australia.
When the game first started, everyone played for fun and for themselves. By the time the Headis European Championships came around, people were playing for their countries.
The first European champion was German Sniper Schorsch, although currently he is ranked number four with number one being German Headsinkfarkt. You will see that Headis players go under pseudonyms and not their real names. It’s all part of the fun.
By the time the second European Championships were played a year later, in 2016, there were five countries participating, with the Dominican Republic coming in.
This shows how quickly the popularity of the game spread, and how widely around the globe it spread too. The Dominican Republic players, Headis Neymar and Major Headis, may not have won, but they had a great time, spread awareness of the game to their own country and to the Caribbean and USA, as well as participating in a ‘so called’ European Championship. Rules are made to be broken!
This was also the year that Headsinkfarkt won the title and he is still currently ranked number one.
There have been Championships every year since the inception. In 2017 Germany again won the title, but with a difference.
For the first time the two finalists were not only German. Headsinkfarkt played Swisshead, a Swiss national. While Germany still dominates the game, and it is a game played at many German universities today, the other European players are starting to get stronger and become serious threats.
The 2018 and 2019 Headis European Championships put the game of Headis firmly on the map. It’s not just about the game, it’s about the atmosphere around the game, the fabulous audience members, the music that is played, the players and their attitudes and style, the grit and the determination.
Headis games are televised – you need to check the sports channels in your own country – but Headis has an enormous following on Youtube and you can follow quite easily from a distance.
If you want to try Headis, or introduce Headis to your university or your sports club, or juts play in your own garage, you need a solid table, a solid net, a ball made of rubber, and a lot of speed and agility. It’s a great way to get fit!
Speaking of fit obviously, the one other sport that holds the tendency to keep you fit is pickleball, and you can read all about the pickleball rules here.