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SWING HIGH, SWING LOW
Member Name: lak11
Date: 18/04/11, updated on 10/07/12 (289 review reads)
Advantages: Fun for all the family. Exercise without needing to run.
Disadvantages: Pets can get in the way as can young children.
Over the years my children have owned about three or four different swingball sets. I think two were kept in our garden and two in my parents' garden. As these have been from different manufacturers I feel it is fairer that I review swingball sets in general rather than a particular brand. However, I will say that I think three out of the four have been of the classic type and one was the sort where the base had to be filled with water or sand.
I have a rotary clothes line where the hole for its pole was made in the lawn and then the base concreted in. The clothes line can be removed and the swingball easily put into the base. This is my favoured way of using a swingball but, if it's a lovely day and the line is full of washing drying in the sunshine, aided by a balmy breeze, and then the family decide they want to play... well then a problem can begin. At times like this the swingball which has its own base is preferable. But I have found that my family seem to prefer the classic type version.
I will say that, although my family and friends have had fun with the swingball, on numerous occasions, until this weekend it was lost in the garage. But this weekend my son and his girlfriend have arrived at my home, as their university is closed for the Easter holidays, and on Sunday my son asked if the swingball was still around. Eventually it was rescued from the garage, given a good clean and set up (once my washing was dry) in place of the rotary line. Their activity was noisy; it was obvious they were having fun and so my daughter appeared in the garden, leaving her laptop behind, and asked if she too could have a go. Before long my eldest son had also joined in the fun. Then I was persuaded to have a bat, which meant my husband felt he had no choice but to also show off his skills. My youngest son then decided we should all play each other, and we did, amid much laughter.
WHAT IT CONSISTS OF
Most of you will know what a swingball set consists of but in case not, or to refresh your memory, a classic set is likely to consist of:
1 x Spike pole which fits into the ground or hole
3 x Poles which interlock to form one long pole which fit into the spike pole
2 x bats (plastic)
1 x tennis ball attached to a strong cord
In the case of an all surface set this will probably contain the same amount of poles but the first pole will fit into the base rather than the ground. It will contain bats and a ball and a base. The base can be weighted down with sand or water so that a variety of surfaces can be used for playing.
The swingball we have now has a type of thread for the cord which means it doesn't really tangle as you play. It is fixed with something called a 'helical' screw, or that's what I've been told it's called. I think these sets are better now than when I first purchased a set.
The height of most swingballs will be adjustable but the highest length will be around the 1.6 metres (5'3").
Swingball sets are usually made of water resistant material which means that it can be left out in the garden for some time without rusting. I know the pole on one of the sets we had years ago had to be replaced because of rust but, I think it had been left out in all weathers for far too long and weather resistant doesn't mean that it won't ever suffer from the weather. However, if a small amount of care is taken this toy should last for a good few years.
HOW TO PLAY
It's an easy game to play and is great for keeping the family fit whilst having fun. The game can be played with two players; one hitting the ball trying to stop the opponent from returning it and, as the ball goes around the post (attached to its cord) the cord will wind upwards or downwards according to the direction that it has been hit (which player has hit it). When the cord reaches the very top or the bottom of the spiral at the top of the pole a point is scored.
With young children the game can be played so that two players hit the ball to each other and try to keep a rally going.
Alternatively this game can be played alone for fitness or to improve skill levels.
Although this game doesn't involve running as in tennis it still can be exerting and burn calories. If you play this for a decent amount of time you're sure to work up a sweat.
I confess to not really playing by the rules. I'm not able to play for very long and so I prefer to just have a short game at hitting the ball and trying to return it. But then I am not especially competitive but my children are (or they are with each other) and so we had a tournament of sorts. I didn't win! To be honest I don't know who did as this went on for a long time and became quite disorganised, and too noisy for me.
But this game gave enjoyment and exercise to us as a family and got us out into the garden on a pleasant spring day. When I wasn't playing I enjoyed watching my family having fun while I sipped at a glass of Soave (another review?) between coaxing the dog out of harm's way as the swingball swung.
When my youngest child was crawling around and the toddling I did find the game of swingball difficult at times when the older children were playing in the garden as I was always worried that her presence would be forgotten by her older siblings who would play too fiercely and she would be hit either by the ball or a racket and so this meant I had to keep a VERY close eye on play or baby.
SWING THIS WAY
There are many different brands available from many different outlets. Some are suitable from about the age of three years and some for children a little older, and of course their mum, dads and other family members too. Here is a small selection:
All Surface Swingball Set. £19.99
First Swingball (with spike). £16.99
Turbo Swingball £16.99
~~Toys R US:
Pink All Surface Swingball £19.99
All Surface Swingball £19.99
Summary: Ideal for playing in the park or beach . Doesn't take up too much space so ideal for small gardens
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