When Rob Hefley was a young teacher in the Kansas City area, he found himself watching a group of youngsters playing the old game of foursquare and it started him thinking.
“I got to thinking a little bit about how I could expand that game,” said Hefley, who is a professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation. “I decided to put it on a basketball court in the gym. Then I must have gone to a volleyball match or something that night, because then I took some of the principles of volleyball and added that.”
The result is a game that Dr. Hefley’s students have dubbed “Hefley Ball” or “H-Ball,” for short.
The game Hefley developed and introduced has developed a growing following. Student teachers he has taught have taken it to their schools, where it has caught on. Hefley thinks people like the game because it is fast-paced, easy to learn and adaptable for people of a wide variety of ages and physical abilities.
“You can play it with as few as four people on a side or as many as eight on a side,” Hefley said. “The ball is typically a volleyball with older kids. With younger kids, you can get a little lighter, bigger ball that they can handle better.”
Today, Hefley said, a week rarely goes by that he doesn’t get e-mails with questions about H-Ball. The inquiries come from nearby and from as far away as Canada and Australia. In some four-state schools, students play the game before school and on their lunch breaks.
Hefley said he enjoys seeing the game he created being played.
“It is neat to go out to schools and see (the game) played at all levels and know that people are enjoying it,” Hefley said. “I can’t say it’s my one great contribution to my profession, but it makes me feel good that it has become as popular as it has.”
Those interested in learning more about H-Ball may contact Hefley at 620-235-4668 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.