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Learn How to Play Lapta!

11. February 2011 by Michelle 0 Comments

The word “lapta” is the old Russian term for “bat” and many of them were found during excavations of ancient Novgorod, which suggests the game was invented in the 14th century or even earlier. Peter the Great used the game as physical training for his elite guard, and Red Army soldiers played as well.


Lapta became a national Russian sport, most popular in the 1950s. Thousands of teams were assembled, championships were held, and the game was even close to being included in the Olympics. Many Russians believe baseball was born from lapta.


More similar to cricket, lapta is a team sport with six players on each team. The field is divided into three zones: the kon, the field itself, and the gorod. One team goes to the gorod, while the other stays in the field. The goal of the game is to hit the ball, served by a player of the other team, as far as possible, then run across the field to the kon line, and then back to the gorod line; all while trying to avoid being hit by the ball, which is thrown by the opposing team members.


The team earns points for each successful run. A team wins by either getting more points during the hour long game, divided into two 30-minute halves, or by having all of its players complete their runs.


While not as popular as in the past, lapta is still played by Russian women, men and children, with plenty of professional leagues.


Watch lapta in action!