Pelota Mixteca (Mexico)

Name of sport (game)

Pelota Mixteca

Name in native language

Pelota MIxteca

Place of practice (continent, state, nation)


The game is played in many places of Oaxaca, Mexico City. Besides Pelota Mixteca has emigrated to the United States as well as the people , so is very common to find places in California and Texas where the game has been adopted as an important cultural heritage.



Mixtec ball is an autochthon five team game between two opposing teams which has its roots in the Mesoamerican ball game.
This game represents the fight of two teams for territory.
Each player is placed strategically in the court to hit the ball. Court is composed in two areas: Service area and a baseline at the back. The game starts with a service throwing the ball which needs to bounce in a stone located on the floor, the ball returns to service area and the team in this area must hit the ball again and again.

The ball moves between the two teams until the ball is out . The score is very similar to a tennis game, the difference consist that only 3 games are required for a set. The court also called “pasajuego” is a clay court with a length of 100 meters x 9 meters of height.

The glove. Before 1900’s the Pelota Mixteca was played only with hands and this technique was called “cold hands”, players used to put leather on their hand in order to protect them for heavy ball punches, this protection has evolutioned into a glove. Current glove weight is between 3.5 to 6 kilos and it is made of layers of leathers and steel nails. Each glove is considered a craft due each one is unique in weight, size and design.

Pelota Mixteca5
The ball is a vulcanized rubber with 900 grams of weight and approximately 12 cm. of length-

Pelota Mixteca de forro ball
Players . Everyone can play pelota mixteca, there is not age restriction, however there are 3 major categories : first, second and third division, the experience, performance and skills which depends on.

Current status




Pelota mixteca tradición viva 
Pelota mixteca tradicin viva

Pelota Mixteca Oaxaca 
Tel. +52 951 260 0661
Pelota Mixteca Oaxaca logo

Pelota Mixteca San Martín Tilcajete 
Pelota Mixteca San Martin

Pelota mixteca San Jose el Mogote 

Pelota Mixteca Los Ahijados 

Pelota Mixteca Nochixtlan Oax. 
Pelota Mixteca Nochixtlan

Pelota Mixteca Tamazulapam 
Pelota Mixteca Tamazulapam

Pelota Mixteca Arellanes 
Pelota Mixteca Arellanes

Pelota Mixteca Xitle CDMX 
Pelota Mixteca Xitle CDMX

Pelota Mixteca Manzanos 

Asociation de la Pelota Mixteca de California Central

Pelota Mixteca San Fernando California 

Pelota Mixteca Dallas Texas 

Japan Pelota Mixteca Association 

Sources of information

Books and articles:
- Agrinier, Pierre 1991 The Ball Courts of Southern Chiapas, Mexico. In The Mesoamerican Ballgame, edited by David R. Wilcox and Vernon L. Scarborough, pp. 175–194. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
- Alvarado, Francisco de 1593 Vocabulario Mixteca. Vocabulario en lengua mixteca hecho por los Padres de la Orden de Predicadores, Mexico.
- Becquelin, Pierre, and Eric Bosc 1972 Notas sobre los yacimientos de albita y jadeita de San Cristobal Acasaguastlan, Guatemala. Estudios de Cultura Maya IX:67–74. Universidad Nacional de Autonóma de México, Mexico.
- Bernal, Ignacio 1968 The Ball Players of Dainzú. Archaeology 21:246–251.
- Bernal, Ignacio 1969 El juego más antiguo. Artes de México XV Aniversario 119:28–33.
- Bernal, Ignacio, and Andy Seuffert 1979 The Ball Players of Dainzú. Akademische Druck- u Verlaganstalt, Graz.
- Bolaños Cacho, Raúl 1946 Reglamento de pelota Mixteca. Dirección de Educación Física, Oaxaca.
- Borhegyi, Stephan F. De 1964–1965 Archaeological Synthesis of the Guatemala Highlands. In Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 2, pt. 1, edited by Robert E. Wauchope and Gordon R. Willey, pp. 3–58. University of Texas Press, Austin.
- Braniff, Beatríz 1988 A propósito del Ulama en el norte de México. Arqueología 3:47–94. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico.
- Cohodas, Marvin 1991 Ballgame Imagery of the Maya Lowlands: History and Iconography. In The Mesoamerican Ballgame, edited by David R. Wilcox and Vernon L. Scarborough, pp. 251–288. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
- Cortés Ruiz, Efraín 1992 El juego de pelota Mixteca. In El juego de pelota precolombino y su perviviencia en la actualidad, pp. 169–177. Museu Etnologic, Ajuntamento de Barcelona.
- Fidel 1846 Costumbres nacionales (juego de pelota). Revista Mexicana II:28–30.
- Gaxiola, Margarita 1984 Huamelulpan Un centro urbano de la Mixteca Alta. Colección Científica No. 114. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico.
- Gillmeister, Heiner 1988 La dissémination géographique des jeux traditionnels: l'unité et la diversité des jeux traditionnels en Europe. Séminaire sur les Jeux Traditionnels. Comité pour le développement du sport, Vila Real.
- Ichon, Alain 1991 Les terrains de jeu de balle dans l'est du Guatemala. In Vingt études sur le Mexique et le Guatemala réunies à la mémoire de Nicole Percheron, coordinated by A. Breton, J.P. Berthe, and S. Lecoin. College Hespérides, Presses Universitaires du Mirail, Toulouse.
- Kowalewski, Stephen A., et al. 1991 Prehispanic Ballcourts from the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. In The Mesoamerican Ballgame, edited by David R. Wilcox and Vernon L. Scarborough, pp. 25–44. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
- Leyenaar, Ted J.J. 1978 Ulama: The Perpetuation in Mexico of the Pre-Spanish Ballgame Ullamaliztli. E.J. Brill, Leiden.
- López Austin, Alfredo 1965 Juegos rituales aztecas. Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas No. 5. Universidad Nacional de Autonóma de México, Mexico.
- Lowe, Gareth W. 1974 The Mixe–Zoque as Competing Neighbors of the Early Lowland Maya. In The Origins of Maya Civilization, edited by R.E.W. Adams, pp. 197–248. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
- Marcus, Joyce, and Kent Flannery 1996 Zapotec Civilization. Thames and Hudson, London.
- Moser, Christopher L. 1977 Ñuiñe Writing and Iconography of the Mixteca Baja. Vanderbilt University Publications in Anthropology No. 19. Nashville, TN.
- Oliveros, Arturo 1997 Un lugar para el juego de pelota: Dainzú-Macuilxochitl. Arqueología Mexicana V(2):24–29.
- Ortiz, Sergio Elías 1963 Tres modos de jugar a la pelota en Colombia. Revista Colombiana de Folclor 3:84–87.
- Paddock, John 1966 Ancient Oaxaca: Discoveries in Mexican Archaeology and History. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
- Parsons, Lee A. 1991 The Ballgame in the Southern Pacific Coast Cotzumalhuapa Region and Its Impact on Kaminaljuyú during the Middle Classic. In The Mesoamerican Ballgame, edited by Gerrard van Bussel, Paul van Dongen, and Ted J.J. Leyenaar, pp. 17–42. Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden.
- Peralta, Espiridión 1903 Juego de pelota. Reglamento. Oaxaca de Juarez.
- Pérez Bazán, Tomás, and Adulfo Manterola 1936 Disposiciones y reglamento para el juego de la pelota a mano. Oaxaca.
- Plazola, A. 1972 Arquitectura deportiva, pp. 590–596. Reglas oficiales de pelota Mixteca. Limusa, Mexico.
- Scarborough, Vernon L., and David R Wilcox (editors) 1991 The Mesoamerican Ballgame. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
- Scheffler, Lillian, Regina Reynoso, and Víctor Inzua C. 1985 El juego de pelota prehispánico y sus pervivencias actuales. La Red de Jonas, Mexico.
- Schieber de Lavarreda, Christa 1994 Abaj Takalik: hallazgo de un juego de pelota del preclásico medio. In VIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, pp. 95–111. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnografía, Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Asociación Tikal, Guatemala.
- Stern, Theodore 1948 The Rubber Ball Game of the Americas. American Ethnological Society Monograph No. 17. University of Washington Press, Seattle.
- Strömsvik, Gustav 1952 The Ball Courts at Copan, with Notes on Courts at La Unión, Quirigua, San Pedro Pinula and Asunción Mita. Publication No. 596. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC.
- Swezey, William R. 1972 La pelota mixteca. In Religión en Mesoamerica, pp. 471–477. XII Mesa Redonda de la Sociedad Mexicana de Antropología, Mexico.
- Taladoire, Eric 1981 Les terrains de jeu de balle (Mésoamérique et Sud Ouest des Etats Unis). Etudes Mésoaméricaines, series II, vol. 4. Mission Arquéologique et Ethnologique Française au Mexique, Mexico.
- Taladoire, Eric 2000 El juego de pelota mesoamericano: Origen y desarrollo. Arqueología Mexicana VIII(43):20–27.
- Taladoire, Eric 2001 The Architectural Background of the Prehispanic Ballgame: An Evolutionary Perspective. In The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame, edited by M. Whittington, pp. 96–115. Mint Museum of Arts, Thames and Hudson, London.
- Uriarte, María Teresa 2000 Práctica y símbolos del juego de pelota. Arqueología Mexicana VIII(44):28–35.