American Football Database

Angleball is an American indoor and field sport that was developed in the 1940s by collegiate Hall of Fame football and basketball coach Charles A. "Rip" Engle (March 26, 1906 – March 7, 1983), as a way to keep service men and women fit during World War 2. Engle served as the head football coach at Brown University from 1944 to 1949 and at Pennsylvania State University from 1950 to 1966. Engle was also the head basketball coach at Brown from 1942 to 1946. Angleball is light contact and because of its unique rules that emphasize skill, accuracy and placement over size, height and speed, angleball has been called the best group game ever developed for mixed ages and genders of up to 40 people.[1] Currently, angleball is played for conditioning in the NFL and for fun by colleges, schools, camps and all-ages groups across the United States.


Two large balls are placed atop standards (normally 10' tall posts with a 10' radius circle around the post) at opposite sides of a field. In a mixture of soccer and basketball, teams pass a smaller ball back and forth, attempting to knock the other team's ball off its perch with the smaller ball (normally a regulation size handball). A goal is worth one point. An offensive player who is touched by a defensive player must come to a stop and has three seconds to pass the ball to avoid a turnover. Additionally, once tagged a player cannot shoot for a goal. Requirements on the "time limit" between tagging and passing the ball is usually up to the organizer, but is, as stated above, standardly set at 3 seconds. If a ball is knocked off its perch as a result of the standard being struck it does not count as a goal and results in a turnover. After a score is made, play may not resume until the ball is replaced in its perch at the top of the post. The team scored against then begins with possession of the ball inside of their own circle and can begin to advance the ball towards the other team's goal. The ball may be thrown, kicked or rolled from player to player. There is no tackling. The organizer should set tagging rules, but it is usually one hand tag.

Like basketball, teams don't have goalies and the goal is surrounded by a key area where offensive players aren't permitted. As stated above, this key area is a circle marked on the ground at a certain distance (usually 10') from the goal. Defensive players may cross into the circle area of the goal that they are defending as often as they wish. Offensive players may never transgress the circle guarded by the opposing team. If at any point a member of the offense crosses the plane of the defensive team's circle (with or without the ball) the defense may call to account the transgression and demand an immediate turnover. It should be decided before play begins whether defensive players may tend goal. Some rules allow for a single goalie who is allowed inside of the marked area, but is discouraged from exiting it. Teams do not have a set number of players—the number of participants is simply divided in half, although five or six per side is considered ideal.

There is no regulation field size and out-of-bounds, if used, are arbitrarily set; the suggested size is a field large enough to place the standards 35 to 50 yards apart or about that of a soccer field, and out of bounds areas usually do not exist.


The first high school angleball game played was in the late 1960s at Pioneer Ranch in Tidioute, Pennsylvania, when the Corry High School Beavers football team hosted the Titusville Rockets team. Corry's athletic director and head football coach, Lou Hanna, and Titusville's athletic director, Roy Van Horn, had been teammates on the 1939 Slippery Rock State Teachers College undefeated championship football team.[2] The game was won by Corry.

Van Horn was the owner of Pioneer Ranch, a boys camp on the Allegheny River near Tidioute, Pennsylvania. With Hanna, he founded the Northwestern Pennsylvania Football Camp at Pioneer Ranch in 1961, the nation's first summertime football camp for high school gridders, and hired Penn State's coaches to staff it.[3] It was here a relationship with Rip Engle was formed, and they were first introduced to angleball.

In the mid-1990s the game was also introduced to students at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana by Philosophy Professor, Dr. James Spiegel.[citation needed] On October 4, 2009 Angleball was introduced to a group of about 20 people in Tucson, Arizona.[citation needed] It remains a favorite in Gym classes at Bellefonte Area High School in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Penns Valley Area High School in Spring Mills, Pennsylvania and Mount Nittany Middle School in State College, Pennsylvania.[citation needed] Angleball sets are manufactured by the American Angleball company and are being used by camps, schools, and youth groups throughout the United States and Canada. In 2011 at the 100th year celebration of the Dept. of Kinesiology at Penn State, an American Angleball was featured in "The Ball Games of the World Exhibit" presented by Dr. Ken Swalgin, Associate Professor of Kinesiology. The exhibit includes over 80 balls, equipment, and posters depicting ball sports from around the world. Ball sports are categorized as follows: handball games, bowls and bowling, ball and bat games, racket and paddle games, football games, ball and raised goal games, invasion goal games, and other ball games.(Swalgin, K.L. 2011).

In 2012, an American Angleball set was adopted by the Philadelphia Eagles for preseason conditioning.

In 2013, the American Angleball League was created with a stated goal of professional play by 2023. The International Angleball League was create that same year between international representatives to introduce angleball to a global audience with an as yet unspecified timeline.


  1. Vickey, Ted (2008). 101 Fitness Games for Kids at Camp. Coaches Choice Books. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-58518-070-7.
  2. [1], Roy Van Horn, Slippery Rock Hall of Fame.
  3. Dohrmann, George (2001-06-25). "Sweat Shopping: Though rife with NCAA violations, college-run football camps have become bull markets for recruiters". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2008-03-20.

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