Patrick Thomas (Germany) is a superstar within the fistball family. At the age of 27, he has won every title possible in the sport of fistball and is known for his outstanding fast strikes which accelerate up to 130 km/h.
In 2019, he won the German Championship Indoor and Outdoor, the European Champions Cup and the World Tour Final with his club Team TSV Pfungstadt. With the German national team, he won the World Championships for the third consecutive time.
Patrick recently shared more with Protective Life about fistball, his achievements and what he’s looking forward to in the future.
Q: How long have you been playing fistball? What about the sport compelled you to try it out?
I started playing fistball approximately 17 years ago. My whole family played this sport so I got infected with the fistball virus very early.
Q: What do you think makes fistball different from other sports?
It’s a sport in which the word cohesion is very important. It‘s a big family where beginners and new participating nations are warmly welcomed. Nobody makes money with fistball, so you can only find passionate people.
Q: If you weren’t a fistball player, what other World Games sport would you want to compete in and why?
Maybe I would like to play beach handball, because it looks like a lot of fun to jump in the sand and make some pirouettes.
Q: Can you describe fistball in five words?
Dynamic. Emotion. Athletic. Mentality. Family.
Q: To anyone who is not familiar with fistball, how do you explain the sport to them? How is it different from similar sports? How is it the same?
Fistball is like volleyball but the pitch is much bigger. Therefore the ball can bounce after someone hits it. The ball must be played over the net after three touches, as well. The net is only five centimeters wide and two meters high. We do the service three meters before the net and we play the ball only with one arm. We hit the ball over the net with the closed fist.
Q: You have won every title you can win in the sport of fistball. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
One of my biggest achievements of my fistball career was the first world championship title in 2011 in Austria against Austria in the finals. We were greenhorns. I was 19 years old and had not much experience. Nobody expected that we could really win. We played in a big football stadium at 8:15 p.m. with floodlights and live television. The 10,000 spectators made noise like crazy. It’s been very special and magical for me. I‘ll never forget it.
Q. You were seriously injured in 2017 in the opening match of The World Games in Wroclaw but were able to return 10 months later. How did you make through that experience?
I didn’t know if I could ever play fistball again or return to my previous level. That was my biggest motivation. I didn’t want to finish my career with an injury. Because I studied at that time, I was able to go to rehab almost every day.
Q: Have you ever visited the United States? What would you most look forward to seeing or doing during your trip for the World Games 2021?
I have never been to the USA. I really want to get to know the American way of life and have many conversations with locals. I’m really excited and looking forward to that journey. The World Tour Finals for club teams will also take place in Birmingham as a pre-event for the World Games. We will certainly have a few days to get to know Birmingham better.
Q: What is ahead for you in 2019 and 2020? What will you be focusing on?
Next year I will focus on the European Championship in Italy with the national team in addition to the World Tour Finals for club teams in Birmingham.
Congratulations to Patrick on being named September’s Athlete of the Month, and we’re looking forward to cheering you on in the future!
Read more about Patrick and previous Athlete of the Month honorees on The World Games website.