What is Fistball?

Fistball is not a sport many are familiar with.

It closely resembles volleyball, but with a few key differences - and now a group of Christchurch players are set to make their international debut for New Zealand, even though they haven't really played a full-on game before.

The 5-a-side sport is very similar to volleyball, but played on a far larger court -  the ball must only be hit by a closed fist or forearm and the ball can bounce before being returned.

It's played by 60 countries around the world, with Europe the powerhouse.

New Zealand Fistball Association President Blase Dowall found out about the game through Google and YouTube.

"We discovered that recently Australia and South Africa had got going - we thought we can't have them doing that and not us," he says.

Six months ago he formed a club, getting it ratified by the International Fistball Association.

The Canterbury-based club features husbands, wives, siblings, and even a father and son combination in Rob Genet and 16-year-old Preston. 

"My mates are jealous, some think it's weird and I think It's cool," says Preston.

"Every time we mention 'fistball' we have to repeat it three or four times," says Mr Dowall.

Women's captain Vicki Buston says it's exciting to have found an alternative sport to be successful at.

"We all realised we didn't have the skills to represent the country in a sport New Zealand was already playing so we decided to find another," she says.

On Waitangi weekend the group of "fistballers" - who have only played games against each other - will debut for New Zealand against Australia in Geelong. 

At stake will be the "Pavlova Plate".

Men's captain Steve Mckenzie says: "it's an opportunity to put the Fern on and do our best at a sport we've never played - it's great."

The sport has come a long way in a short time in this country and already there's talk that Wellington and Auckland want in on the action as well. 

You can donate to growing the game at their Givealitle page.