History of Ancient Mayans:
Sports and physical activities


The Mayan culture was extremely vibrant in all of its aspects. Although some aspects of the culture, like human sacrifice, are perhaps morbid for today’s perceptions. Other than excelling at architecture, art, culture, mathematics, astronomy- Mayans were great at entertaining themselves. They practiced various sports where all the people with different social statuses would become equal and have fun.

Mayan Ball Game

The most well-known game that the Mayans practiced is the Mayan Ball Game. The ball game dates back to 1,400 BC and had many variations over time and in different regions. This means the rules also varied, but the general idea was more or less the same. The original form of the game consisted of striking the ball with the hips. In other forms of the game, it was allowed to strike the ball with elbows, knees, rackets, bats, etc.
The balls were made from solid rubber and they weighed about 4kg. The ball games were often held in the midst of grand events and often they involved rituals of human sacrifice. The ball game was played in two teams between two and six players. The rule of the game was to strike the ball with the hips so it won’t fall to the ground. Whichever team drops the ball loses a point. For these purposes, the Mayans have built many ball game courts. The bigger the city, the larger the ball court. On both sides, there were seatings for people to observe the game.