This week kicks off with our first British male player, Rob Ellis, a right-handed all-rounder for Guilford Tchoukball Club. Ellis has been playing tchoukball since 2002, being a core member of his club, regardless of changes revolving around him. First as Liphook Tchoukball Club folded and FAST emerged, then as FAST developed into Guildford Inferno, where he has been a part of the Tchoukball UK Super League winning team for the past two seasons.
He has also represented the UK in numerous events, making his senior debut at the European Championships in Rimini in 2003, the World Championships in Ferrara in 2011, all the way up to his most recent Euros in the Czech Republic in 2016. Having played multiple international tournaments, Ellis has had a great view of the developments of the game – he feels that the main difference is that players think more about how to score points rather than relying on physical size and strength.
Jumping back to 2002, Ellis started playing tchoukball as one of his school teachers invited him to play after school; he went along with a friend and has not looked back since. He says that “the best thing about tchoukball is the number of friends that I have within the sport”.
Away from the tchoukball court, Ellis is extremely keen on snowboarding and music – both playing and listening. Furthermore, his passion for parkour a few years ago taught him how to expand his repertoire as a shooter, adding certain rotations and techniques and allowing him to play pretty much anywhere on the court without a problem. Other than parkour, Rob has a weakness for the gym paired with his giant collection and ‘eclectic taste’ in films.
When asked about his favourite tchoukball memory, he plumped for a dramatic finish in an invitational club tournament in Switzerland. After falling 8 points behind early on, they managed to claw their way back into the game and win it in the dying seconds.
As for the future, Ellis is hoping that tchoukball can grow to a stage where it can reach more recognition and hopefully sponsorship as it would be great to play without having to self-fund.
In his 16 years of playing tchoukball, Ellis was able to pass on some tips to junior players: “Practice – the more you put in, the more you get out” and also suggested trying parkour for the jumping techniques.
Ellis is looking forward to EWC in Radevormwald and his personal goal is “to have fun and play the best I can” and hopes that the team will improve on their position from last year.
How will Ellis prepare for these big games? Generally, he finds a good nights sleep is key – along with a good playlist to get him in the mood. Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame…