How to Pick the Perfect Mat For Your Own Kabaddi Court

How to Pick the Perfect Mat For Your Own Kabaddi Court

Kabaddi is a dynamic sport in which one moment you work alone as a raider —essentially putting the hopes of your team on your back—and then you work together with other teammates to defend your own zone. In that way, it combines the best of mixed martial art’s, rugby, and even tag to create a hybrid sport which is exhilarating to play.

Created in India and popular throughout the world, athletes who thrive in this sport have the single-minded determination to strike out as a ‘raider’, whilst being able to cooperate and fit into a cohesive defensive strategy with six other teammate when the opponents raider invades your territory.

Whether you’re new to the sport or are interested in creating your own court for a kabaddi match, this article will set you up with a proper introduction to the sport.

In this article, we’ll be looking at:

  • The background of kabaddi
  • The rules of the sport
  • What draws people to kabaddi?
  • Common injuries associated with the sport
  • Playing surface: mats versus grass
  • Building your own kabaddi court

Before we dive into the article, British Martial Arts Mats would like to thank Sanjay Patel, the president of England Kabaddi Union. Without his help, we wouldn’t be able to provide you with as much well-rounded information to help you make an informed decision on the type of mats to purchase for your club or home gym.

The Background of Kabaddi

Modern kabaddi derives from ancient India, and was primarily played in rural areas. Over time, it slowly developed into the sport that we played today. The first large kabaddi tournament was featured in the Asian Games, which is like the Olympics but just for Asian countries. The first appearance of kabaddi at the Asian Games was in 1990.

Recently, in 2014, the Pro Kabaddi league started in India. It was a super league for the sport which allowed it to gain recognition among the people of India. In fact, the Pro Kabaddi league is the second most popular sport in India, falling just behind cricket. Although the club teams are exclusively from India, the Pro Kabaddi league has professional kabaddi players from throughout the world, including kabaddi hotspots like Iran and South Korea.

Kabaddi is played throughout the country of India, but it is the official sport of the states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Telangana and Maharashtra.

The sport has continued to grow worldwide, with international tournaments gaining a growing following. It also continues to gain ground throughout the UK. The international governing body for the sport is the International Kabaddi Federation, which is made up of 30 national assemblies. There’s even an amateur kabaddi federation set up in India. Closely affiliated with the IKF, the England Kabaddi Union has set up teams at affiliated universities.

The Rules of Kabaddi

For those who are curious about the sport, learning a little bit more about the intricate details of the rules can help you get a solid footing before showing up at a club event. Kabaddi incorporates many elements of popular sports, including mixed martial arts, rugby, and tag. Learning how to score and defend are the basics, but there are many nuances to the game which will take you years to master. Check below for a list of the rules of kabaddi.

  1. The court size is 13m x 10m

When setting up a kabaddi court, the main playing surface is 13 m x 10 m. According to the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) Rules and Regulations, the desirable size for the full-size court, including lobbies and the playing surface, should be 20 m in length and 20 m in width. The minimum size of a court is 17 m in length by 18 m in width.

The court is divided with a centre line, mid line, and baulk lines. This demarcation allows for different rules of the sport to take place. For example, a raid is begun when one player from a team crosses the centre line, leaves their own half, and enters the other team’s half.

  1. Two teams of seven players

The first rule of a kabaddi match is that there are two teams of only seven players. Each team takes a turn raiding the opponent team’s side. When a raider is in the defenders side, two things can happen:

  1. The defenders are allowed to tackle the raider. The defenders score a point if they tackle the raider from the opposing team to the ground.
  2. The raider tries desperately to lay a fingertip on each of the defenders. They score points for every defender that they touch.

There’s a desperate dance where the defenders are trying to get within grasp of the raider, but not too close where they could get touched by the raider and give up points. This is where the athletic talent comes in, as well as the ability to cooperate and work as a team.

  1. Each raid only lasts 30 seconds

Each raid is limited to 30 seconds in duration, after which the defenders are on offence. This is where the dynamism of the sport really comes into play. You can quickly switch from tackling an opponent as a defender to knifing into the opponent’s half to catch them off-guard.

  1. If you get touched, you must leave the pitch

Sanjay Patel states, ” If you get touched or tackled you are knocked out and must leave the pitch, but these players can be revived if the team scores points.”

  1. The Baulk Line

It is mandatory that the raider crosses the balk line during the 30 seconds that they are raiding the opponents zone or else they’ll be out. However, if the raider touches a defender or they’re touched by a member of the defending team, then they don’t have to cross the baulk line.

  1. Bonus points

If you wipe out all seven opponent players, your team will gain 2 bonus points. Afterwards, all seven players on the opposing team will be allowed to enter the court again.

  1. Kabaddi match duration

The duration of the match is split up between two halves of 20 minutes in duration. There is a five-minute half time break, after which the teams switch sides. At the end of two halves, the team with the most points wins.

  1. Golden raid

You know when you’re on the edge of your seat watching a penalty shootout at the end of a football match? Well, kabaddi has something similar to that when a game ends in a tie. A golden raid is conducted as a tiebreaker scenario, whereby a referee flips a coin to decide which team will be raiding in which team will be defending. This is usually only used when you need to find an actually winner of the match.

What draws people to kabaddi?

According to Sanjay Patel, the dynamic nature of the sport is what gets people most interested and excited to play kabaddi. Patel states,

Kabaddi is a fast-paced game full of action. Also, the notion of 1 versus 7 is seen as a challenge to be relished, and in one instance you can be raiding and in the next second you are defending. This naturally attracts people and other athletes to try out the sport… It requires skills from many disciplines so the sport of Kabaddi is unique in that sense.

Although the match takes place in fewer than 130 m² of space, it takes a great deal of athletic ability and stamina to continue to keep your skills at a competitive level. In that same vein, it mirrors 7s Rugby, an adaptation of the standard game of rugby but with only seven players on each team. Anyone who’s ever tried to match up with their man one-on-one in an attempt to make a tackle can attest that it takes a lot of physical ability and stamina to keep going.

Now imagine if you jumped quickly from raiding the opposing team to defending your own half. Also imagine that you lost points every time you were touched by the player you’re trying to tackle. Sounds tough, eh?

This is what’s interesting about playing kabaddi.

Common Injuries Associated With Kabaddi

Because of the competitive nature of the sport and the physical contact involved, athletes can experience many different injuries from playing kabaddi. Like other contact sports, some of the most common injuries associated with kabaddi include ankle sprains, bruises, and mat burn.

However, major injuries can also arise from playing the sport, like dislocations, ligament tears, and concussions. Minimal equipment is used when playing kabaddi, including a good pair shoes with great grip, knee pads and elbow pads, and the kabaddi mats their played on.

If you’ve read any of the blogs on this website, one thing that you’ll come across is the idea that martial arts mat’s are the first form of personal protective equipment for the athletes who train at your gym. This is also true for playing kabaddi, as the mats are really the only thing that protects vulnerable athletes from the hard floor.

Playing Surfaces for Kabaddi: Mats Vs. Grass

There are two different types of surfaces on which you can play kabaddi: grass or dirt and foam mats. Grass is the traditional way to play the sport, as the sport has its roots as a rural sport before its rise to prominence. Although grass can be comfortable to play on, it’s also dependent on the weather. For example, when playing in the hot summer months, the grass can be dried out and hard. This creates a hard surface for athletes to play on. Alternatively, playing outdoors means you are at the whim of the weather.

Another way to play kabaddi is to use foam mats. Foam mats are easy to set up, great for impact absorption, and also provide extra grip for athletes who train on them. The best way to play kabaddi is indoors on high density foam mats, like EVA foam mats. EVA foam mats provide great cushioning ability, which protects athletes from falls.

According to Sanjay Patel, proper kabaddi mats are paramount to creating a safe space for athletes to train and compete. Patel says, ” Proper Kabaddi mats are very important, they have to be of decent thickness as there is a lot of impact with the ground, which is why we always opt for 40mm mats.” Thickness is key when purchasing the best mats for your sport, as mats that have higher thicknesses usually have better impact absorption properties.

Also, great kabaddi mats provide superior grip and traction so that athletes can make lightning quick movements, being able to turn on a dime. Patel says,

Because raiding and defending requires quick change of direction, decent grip is of paramount importance. Some mats can be slippery and others may be coated with a fine powder once manufactured and so will need to be worn in to provide grip. Others are grippy straight away, it must be the coating or final finish applied to the mats which means they vary in grip.

In addition, for those athletes who want to get an extra little bit of grip, it maybe a good idea to invest in a good pair of wrestling shoes. Wrestling shoes at a little bit more grip, especially on foam mats. However, some athletes choose to go barefoot in order to get greater flexibility. That’s why it’s important to have mats that already have a substantial amount of grip.

Building your own kabaddi court

Kabaddi Court Layour

If you’re looking to create your own kabaddi court, the most important thing you can do is buy the best mats available. Next, you’re going to want to properly lay out the court, and you can follow the illustration given above. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into what is needed to set up your own kabaddi court.

  1. Measure out your space

It was mentioned previously, but the minimum size that you can use to make a kabaddi court is 17 metres by 18 metres, with 20 m x 20 m being the ideal size. Although the actual court is 13 m x 10 m, having a little bit of space around the court just in case an athlete falls out of bounds is key to keep people safe and prevent injuries.

Grab a handy measuring tape, and lay out your court. You may use tape to give yourself an idea of where you want to place everything. If you are a gym owner, and your creating your own court, another good idea is to lay out on a piece of paper where you want to put everything.

Next, you want to find the square metres of material that you’re going to need in order to cover an area completely. For example, if you are looking to cover a 20 m x 20 m area, you’ll need at least 400 m² of mats available.

  1. Pick out the mats that you’ll need

Once you got those measurements, check out British Martial Arts Mats and look for the mats that will suit your needs. For example, if you’re looking for 40 mm mats, you have to refine your search by looking for mats that offer premium grip. Here’s a list of some good mats to choose from:

Now, it’s important to find the exact number of mats that you’ll need. If you were to buy the MMA 40 mm 1 m x 1 m mat, you’ll notice that you only have one square metre of mats. Therefore, you need 400 mats to make a full-sized kabaddi court.

You may also want to purchase different coloured mats for different areas. Most of the mats available on British martial arts mats are two-toned, meaning that there is one colour on one side and another colour on the other side. If you’ve chosen a mat that’s two-toned, you can make the lobbies and the playing surface a different colour. You may even want to make the space between the baulk line and bonus line a different colour. Most of the mats available are available in different colours, so can easily get a multicoloured mat surface.

  1. Lay out the mats

Once you purchased your mats and they arrive, your going to want to lay them out and start arranging them. After you’ve done this, you can start to assemble the pieces or connect them together to make one whole mat surface. If you’ve chosen to purchase mats that have jigsaw connector pieces, be sure to connect the jigsaw pieces together in order to get a tight fit which won’t have any gaps.

If you are filling an entire room with mats, it’s likely that you’re going to need to cut the edges to fit. If that’s the case start on the left-hand side and work your way to the right side, making the cut on the far right side.

Lastly, mark out the playing surface with paint or marking tape. You’ll need to make sure that you have a midline, baulk lines, bonus lines, end lines, and lines separating the lobbies.


Playing kabaddi is great fun, and can be enjoyed by many different people of different athletic abilities. The rush of adrenaline that you feel as the match starts and you raid the other team’s half is exhilarating. But, let’s be honest, the best feeling is when your team scores points. If you’re interested in learning how to set up your own court, follow the rules above to find the perfect mats to suit your needs. Ultimately, our goal is to set you up for success as you create your own kabaddi court.

Also, if you’re looking for more information about the rules of kabaddi, check out the England Kabaddi Federation’s website. There you can learn about some of the clubs available in your area, and you can also learn how to become a member.

Author: David Van Kooten


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