December 22, 2019

What Are the Rules of Spikeball? Any Other Special Rules?

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Learning what is the rules of a sport can help you become a master of your play and your competition. Today we are going to jump into the rules that govern Spikeball and how they help balance the play for both teams in a sport where the field is 360 degrees of space.

What Are the Rules of Spikeball? The rules of Spikeball are very similar to volleyball and feature a basic set of rules, scoring rules, along with different faults. These help to maintain a balanced game and promote fair play.

Spikeball has been developing over the last decade or so after it died out as a 80's game. Once Spikeball made its way into Shark Tank it blew up in exposure and colleges started to have leagues of play. While it doesn't have the long storied history of some sports it is consistently growing and becoming a popular sport to play, you can read our Spikeball reviews on the top 5 sets available and play this weekend.

What Are the Rules of Spikeball?

Like almost all sports there are rules which govern play to allow for a fair field of play. These rules currently fall into 3 sections which are basic (or general rules), scoring rules (when points count), and faulting (committing penalties). The rules provide the skeleton to having a good hard game that is fair to both teams while allowing for competitiveness.

Basic Spikeball Rules

Many are unaware that much of Spikeball itself is inspired by the sport of volleyball, which is why many rules feel similar as they have been adapted from it. The primary separation between the sports is in the equipment used, and the number of players in play as the Spikeball setup typically features a four-person game with two players on each team.

The four players surround the net with players on the same team lining up beside each other. Similar to volleyball, the two teams will stand across the net from each other. Your main goal in the game is to make it hard or impossible for the opposing team to return the ball.

Outdoor Diversions - Rules of Spikeball - Team Alignment on Field of Play.jpg
Rules of Spikeball - Team Alignment on Field of Play.jpg

Stopping a ball return is quite challenging as a player can't carry or hold the ball in any way. Along with this limitation the rules also do not allow you to get inbetween the player and the net to restrict their return.

The game will start with one team serving the ball by bouncing it off the net. The main serving rule requires that the server needs to stand at least 6 feet away from the net, while the receiver may stand at any distance.

Once the server has hit the ball and bounced on the net, players are free to move closer to the net as desired.

Possession changes as soon as the ball touches the net and the receiving team now becomes the hitting team. At this point, after the serve, the players no longer have to stay on their assigned sides and they are free to move around the net as much as wanted or required.

After each bounce, the opposing team has up to 3 hits to return the ball after received. If they are unable to do this, the other team will score a point. If returned then play will continue the volleying back and forth until one of the team fails to return the ball. The volley will also stop when the ball bounces more than once on the net or when someone double hits the ball.

Demonstration Video To See Firsthand

Scoring Rules in Spikeball

The rules in Spikeball around scoring are straight forward and not overly complicated. Games typically are played to a finish at 21 points, there are games that be played to 11 or 15 points. This would depend on what the two teams agreed to prior to the start of the game.

For tournaments, the winning score limit will rest on the specification of the tournament director.

According to official Spikeball rules, the team which wins must score at least 2 points more than their opponent by the end of the game. This rule isn't set in stone and can change according to team agreements or when specified by tournament officials.

Unlike most sports in Spikeball one team will get a point at every serve. Either the serving team or the receiving team gets a point on each play, you are always able to score on any serve which makes the game fast.

Points Based On Official Rules:

  • Ball Hits the Ground - When the ball you served hits the ground, the opposing team gets 1 point.
  • Ball Hits the Rim of the Net - When you hit the rim with your ball, the opposing team gets 1 point.
  • Ball Multiple Bounces on Net - When your ball bounces on the net more than once, the opposing team gets 1 point.
  • Ball Rolls on the Net - When your ball fails to bounce and instead rolls across the net, the opposing team gets 1 point.
  • Catch Of Ball - When you catch or throw the ball rather than hitting it, the opposing team gets 1 point.
  • Double Hitting the Ball - When you double hit the ball. This means you touch the ball more than once in a row, the opposing team gets 1 point.
  • Double Faulting - When you fault two times in a row while serving, the opposing team gets 1 point.

Faulting in Spikeball

There are certain plays or moves you can't perform within the rules of Spikeball. These are labeled as "faults" which if they are committed, could possibly result in points given to your opponents.

When you plan to learn how to play the game, you need to thoroughly learn the conditions of faulting. Understanding the rules and reasons will help you to play your best and use the rules in your own favor.

Primary Fault Rules Within Spikeball:

  • Maintain 6' Distance From Net While Serving - You need to stay at least 6 feet away from the net while serving the ball. If this space is not maintained, it is a fault. Should you commit this fault twice in a row, your opponents will earn a point.
  • Can't Serve Direct From Hand - Players are not to serve the ball directly out of their hands. Spikeball requires players to toss the ball in the air a minimum of 2 inches prior to being able to hit it.
  • Must Hit The Ball On The Toss - When you toss the ball for your serve, you must hit it for it to be a valid serve. Any other interaction such as catching the ball, dropping the ball, or missing the hit will all count as a fault.
  • No Sideways Motion - While it is permissible to take just one step as you serve, you may not move sideways or you will have committed a fault.
  • Crossing the Serve Line - Crossing the 6-feet serve line while serving will count as a fault.
  • Rimming the Ball - Hitting the rim of the net while serving and also during play will count as a fault.
  • Blocking Players from the Ball - Players should not block their opponents from getting to the ball. If and when this occurs, they have to replay the game.
  • Serve Must Be Reachable - You must serve the ball so the opposing team is able to reach it without jumping. Hitting it higher than your opponent’s outstretched hand will count as a fault.
  • Pocket Rolls - When your ball hits the net and rolls to the rim instead of bouncing out into the field that is a pocket, additionally it counts as a fault.

Do The Spikeball Pro Rules Differ?

From my overall research online the rules for Spikeball on the Pro side don't appear to be any different from the normal rules which should make it easy to remember. Once you understand and grasp the rules you will be good no matter the competition level you compete in.

Do College Rules Differ?

While reading on the rules it does appear that colleges add additional rules on competition and have specifics on how they choose who will serve first. If you are looking to apply at your college, or possibly start a club there yourself then I would suggest reading the rules that they run specifically at their campus so that you aren't caught off guard.

Final Thoughts

You should always take the time when you compete in a sport to understand the rules and nuances about the competition. If you put in the effort it can help you get the results you want to have, if you avoid learning the rules others will be able to use them against you.

Don't think of it like going to school but more grasping the knowledge required to excel and dominate your competition!

Interested In Playing Spikeball?

Below are all our favorite options from Amazon, almost all are under Prime shipping so you could have them in the next day or two. Get yours today and go enjoy the summer months with some awesome slam play!

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Article written by Josh Koop
I have loved to play outdoor games since I was a little kid, as I grew up I found more games and I also found out about alternate rules. I started Outdoor Diversions with Matt to help get this information out to everyone so they can enjoy these games as much as I do!