The vaqueta ball (Valencian : pilota de vaqueta, IPA: [piˈlɔta ðe vaˈketa] , lit. 'little cow') is the kind of ball used to play some Valencian pilota variants, including Escala i corda, Galotxa and Raspall. Its name derives from the fact that it is made of bull's skin. It has a black colour that tends to become brown as it is used, and is designed to contrast with the white colour of the trinquets' walls.
The vaqueta ball has a diameter of 44 millimetres (1.7 in) (giving it a circumference of 138 millimetres (5.4 in)), and its weight is around 42 to 48 grams (1.5 to 1.7 oz), depending on the variant. In Escala i corda lighter balls are preferred, while in Raspall heavier balls are used.
The actual weight of the balls has changed over time. In the 1930s, pilotaris such as Quart played with balls around 28–33 grams (0.99–1.16 oz). The lighter the ball the slower it goes and the less it flies (its direction). This change of weight has been favoured by rest players, who tend to be stronger and have to send the ball longer, but it is an extra handicap for mitger and punter players, who have to stop the ball or strike it in the middle of its trajectory and while it is still carrying a lot of force.
During the matches, and before beginning every quinze, the team who stands at the dau is allowed to change one of the six disposable balls (each team previously chose three of them). This way, if playing again a double team, a trio would choose a new ball, which are fast and with a long bounce, so that the opposing two players are forced to move constantly. Otherwise, the attacking team tends to choose heavier balls, since they exhaust more when defensing.
The making of a vaqueta ball is a piece of Arts and crafts. The piloters are mainly leather workers such as Emili López (Alberic), Enric Álvarez (Carcaixent), Miquel Baixauli (Catarroja), Joan Montañés (Llíria), Josep Bernet (Massalfassar), and Miquel Pedrosa (La Vall d'Uixó), or retired players as el Rovellet (València).
First the piloter chooses the bull's skin, specially from the nape of the neck, which has to be 6 or 7 millimetres (0.24 or 0.28 in) thick and which has to be very tough, so that the ball becomes a real stone when it is finished. Once the leather is chosen, it is steeped until it becomes 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. During this process the skin becomes softer and the piloter may work with it. Next, eight triangles are cut and sewn up from the inner side with nylon so that they form a sphere. But before the last triangle is sewn up, the ball is stuffed with fluff. After that the last triangle is sewn up and the ball gets closed. It will be pressed for 3 or 4 days in order to acquire a perfect spherical shape. The elaboration process is finished around 1 month later, when the leather is absolutely dry.
There are a number of reasons to explain the expensive price of the vaqueta balls: The handcrafted elaboration, the time consumed, the quality of the materials, and the few number of renowned piloters. There also on sale balls used by the professional players, though they are not as fast or tough as new ones.
Basque pelota is the name for a variety of court sports played with a ball using one's hand, a racket, a wooden bat or a basket, against a wall or, more traditionally, with two teams face to face separated by a line on the ground or a net. The roots of this class of games can be traced to the Greek and other ancient cultures.
A rugby ball is an elongated ellipsoidal ball used in rugby football. Its measurements and weight are specified by World Rugby and the Rugby League International Federation, the governing bodies for both codes, rugby union and rugby league respectively.
Valencian pilota is a traditional handball sport played in the Valencian Community. Its origins are not known.
The Circuit Bancaixa, officially Liga Profesional Escala i Corda, is the professional league of Valencian pilota.
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.
Escala i corda is the most prestigious variant of Valencian pilota, and the only one apart from raspall to have professional players.
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.
Frontó is a modified Valencian pilota version of the original Basque Pelota game. The name frontó refers both to the game, ball and the playing area. Unlike some of the more popular Valencian Pilota rules, frontó is an indirect game, that is, players do not stand face-to-face but share a common playing area.
The Pelayo trinquet is one of the most renowned trinquets courts of the Valencian pilota sport in Valencia. The most important Escala i corda competitions, such as the Circuit Bancaixa, have their final matches played there.
Paco Cabanes Pastor is a retired professional Valencian pilota player known by his town's name, Genovés I, and who has begun a pilotaris saga with his son, Genovés II. He's been regarded as one of the best players of all time, along with El Nel de Murla, Juliet d'Alginet and Rovellet, and he deserved to be in the Honor Gallery of the Pelayo trinquet. He's also been a member of the Valencian Pilota Squad.
Álvaro Navarro Serra, simply known as Álvaro, is one of the main Valencian pilota professional players. He is one of the most reputed dauers due to his strong left hand and his professionality, and has got to be a member of the Valencian Pilota Squad. Now he is one of the stars of the ValNet company.
Enric Sarasol Soler, known as Sarasol I, was a professional Valencian pilota player. He retired in 2004 and for 3 years he was the Sports General Director of the Generalitat Valenciana, until 2007.
Julio Palau Lozano was a professional Valencian pilota Escala i corda variant player known as Juliet d'Alginet. He is one of only five players in the Pelayo trinquet's Honor gallery.
Vicente Grau Juan is a professional Valencian pilota player known as Grau. He plays mainly Escala i corda matches and is one of the best mitgers (midfield) playing for the ValNet company, due to his fast and strong ball-strikes, he has been the first mitger who won the Trofeu Individual Bancaixa, a competition for dauers. He has been a recurrent member of the Valencian Pilota Squad, attaining many prizes, specially the World's best player twice.
Pasqual Sanchis Moscardó was a Valencian pilota professional player known as Pigat II. Son of the Raspall player Pigat I and brother of Pigat III, Pasqual has been a renowned "dauer" in the Escala i corda variety. He retired in 2000, but he keeps working for the Valencian Pilota Federation as the coach of the Valencian Pilota Squad, where he was a relevant player in the International Championships. Pigat II is also a technical assistant of the pilota company ValNet, and a "trinqueter" of some trinquets.
The Valencian Pilota Federation is the Valencian public organization that promotes and manages the many varieties and competitions of the Valencian pilota sport. Its current president is Ramón Sedeño Clemente.
The 2007 edition of the Handball International Championships was the VII European Championship, organized by the International Ball game Confederation, and was held at the Belgian cities of Nivelles and Buizingen during September 21 and 23.
Pelota mixteca is a team sport similar to a net-less tennis game. The players wear sturdy, elaborately decorated gloves affixed to a heavy flat striking surface, using them to strike a small solid ball. The game has roots extending back hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of years.
Galotxa is a variety of pilota that is always played in the street, whether artificial or natural, practiced mostly in the northern counties of the Xúquer river.