Sports in Switzerland
The people of Switzerland are a very sporty lot with one in four being an active member of a sports club. Because of the large variety in climate and landscape, a large variety of sports are played in Switzerland. Winter sports are very popular with locals and foreigners alike but in terms of popularity football and ice hockey are the favourites. We take a look at some of the more traditional sports played in the country.
Floorball is a type of hockey that is played indoors on a wooden or rubber mat floor or just a basketball court and is a highly popular sport in Switzerland. Swiss floorball is a revised version of a floorball match. The match is played on a slightly smaller court and often involves only three field players playing on each side, in 3-on-3 floorball. This form of floorball is also slightly shorter, with only two periods of 15 to 20 minutes each played. In Switzerland this form of playing is called “smallcourt” (Kleinfeld), opposed to the usual style of playing on a bigger court, which is called “bigcourt” (Grossfeld). Switzerland regularly comes into the top three best teams in the sport and its national sides have won a number of world titles.
This sport is similar to the shot put event seen in the Olympic Games but instead of the shot being thrown a large stone is used instead. This sport is practised among the alpine population of Switzerland and has been played since prehistoric times. The sport is regularly played at festivals and sees competitors hurl stones that can weigh as much as 50 kg in weight.
Otherwise known as Swiss wrestling this sport is played mostly in the pre-alpine German speaking region of the country. Participants wear wrestling breeches with belts that are used for taking holds. The objective is to pin your opponent’s shoulders to the ground so a lot of frantic grabs and throws are the order of the day. Schwingen is considered Switzerland’s national sport.