Escala i corda

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Escala i corda (Valencian pronunciation:  [esˈkala j ˈkɔɾða] , "stairs and rope") is the most prestigious variant of Valencian pilota, and the only one apart from raspall to have professional players.

Valencian pilota

Valencian pilota is a traditional handball sport played in the Valencian Community. Its origins are not known.


Raspall is a variant of the handball game, Valencian pilota, played mainly in the Valencian regions south to the Xúquer river: the Vall d'Albaida, the Safor, the Costera, the Marina Alta and the Marina Baixa. It is also popular in the Ribera Baixa. It is one of only two variants that have professional players—the other being Escala i corda.




The "Escala i corda" variant began around 1910, when the player Nel de Murla settled a 1.80 m high rope in the middle of a trinquet and thus divided the courtfield in two sides. Until then, the midfield was variable, using the "ratlles" of the Llargues variant.

Valencian trinquet

Valencian trinquet, or simply trinquet, is the court used in the Valencian Community for two different modalities of Valencian pilota: the Escala i corda and the Raspall.


Llargues is the oldest Valencian pilota modality. It is played on the streets, where two teams formed by 3, 4 or 5 players throw each other the ball with the hand try to surpass an imaginary line which changes every game.


Vaqueta ball Pilota vaqueta.jpg
Vaqueta ball

In "Escala i corda" a kind of ball called pilota de vaqueta (Catalan for little cow ball) is used; it is a small and extremely fast ball, very tough, and bounces well. The name comes from the fact that it is made of cow leather. The dimensions of the ball for adult games are 42 mm diameter, 138 mm circumference, and 42 gr weight.

The vaqueta ball is the kind of ball used to play some Valencian pilota variants: Escala i corda, Galotxa and Raspall. Its name derives from the fact that it is made of bull's skin, hence its black colour, this way the ball contrasts with the white colour of the trinquets' walls.

Catalan language Romance language

Catalan is a Western Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin and named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia, in northeastern modern Spain. It is the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia. It also has semi-official status in the Italian comune of Alghero. It is also spoken in the eastern strip of Aragon, in some villages of Region of Murcia called Carche and in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France. These territories are often called Països Catalans or "Catalan Countries".


The objective of an Escala i corda game is sending the ball over a net by hitting it with the hand. When the opponent does not return it, the sending team wins the quinze.

Leon throws himself to the ground to play a bouncing ball on the rest wall Escala i corda rebot.jpg
León throws himself to the ground to play a bouncing ball on the rest wall

Matches are played to 12 games, counting 5 to 5: every game scoring is valid for 5 points. Every game is divided in 4 "quinzes" (15, 30, val and game). The team who first gets 60 points for 12 games is the winner.

Every quinze begins when the "feridor" player throws the ball to the opponent "dauer", who must turn it back to the team in the "rest" midfield. This way, both teams will be sending each other the ball over the net, only hitting it by hand; they may hit the ball in the air or when it has bounced once on the ground. This continues until one of the teams is not able to throw it back or a "fault " is committed.


There is also a way to get direct "quinzes", by throwing the ball to the gallery of the trinquet or the "llotgeta" and without the ball coming back. In some competitions this is not allowed, such as the Circuit Bancaixa league or special challenges. This is because this way of scoring is too easy for certain players and is regarded as less spectacular. Anyway, in one-on-one matches "galleries" are allowed.[ clarification needed ]

The Circuit Bancaixa, officially Liga Profesional Escala i Corda, is the professional league of Valencian pilota.



Escala i corda may be played one-on-one, but it is mainly a team sport. Teams may be formed by two or three players, and they may play in every combination (2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, or 3 vs. 2 if those three players are considered not to be as good as the other two); this way, bets are more interesting.

The favourite team (the one organizers thinks is better) will dress in red, and the other one in blue.

Players are called according to their position in the "trinquet". So, there is "dauer", a "mitger" and a "punter". There used to be also two special players called the "feridors" which are drawn by lots before the match begins to know who'll they play for (the "punter" may be the "feridor" as well).

Bouncing ball

The physics of a bouncing ball concerns the physical behaviour of bouncing balls, particularly its motion before, during, and after impact against the surface of another body. Several aspects of a bouncing ball's behaviour serve as an introduction to mechanics in high school or undergraduate level physics courses. However, the exact modelling of the behaviour is complex and of interest in sports engineering.


Spectators in a trinquet Trinquete Pedreguer.jpg
Spectators in a trinquet

When entering into a trinquet, spectators may choose where to seat. Some, the most careful will watch the match from the "galleries" on the top of the walls, and the bravest or scholars may be allowed to seat in the "llotgeta". Some selected people will seat under the rope (1,80 m high). But the majority of fans will be on the "rest" midfield stairs.


In media

Escala i corda is a short film directed by Jorge Bea in 2003. The plot deals with a ball game between two players who risk much in the result on a personal level. The story is set in 1909.

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