OBJECTIVE OF SPIKE BALL: By bumping, setting, and spiking the ball onto the net, the objective is to hit the target score (usually 21 points).
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players (2 teams of 2 players)
MATERIALS: Ball, Round net
TYPE OF GAME: Fast and competitive outdoor game
AUDIENCE: Family players
INTRODUCTION TO SPIKE BALL
Spike Ball is a fast-paced volleyball and four square derivative with parallel rules but one defining difference: Spike Ball is played with a small circular trampoline-like net. The original name for this game was Roundnet, however after the brand Spike Ball began producing the game’s equipment, Spike Ball replaced Roundnet as the common moniker.
SPIKE BALL EQUIPMENT
Spike Ball utilizes only two pieces of equipment — a lightweight bouncy ball and a small circular net. The ball should be inflated until the ball has a 12” circumference for the optimum bounce. If the ball is overinflated, it tends to just bounce straight up in the air and strips the game of some important opportunity for strategy.
The net used in Spike Ball is tightly and evenly pulled across a tiny trampoline structure. The structure should be 36” across and 8” off the ground. When the net is secured, the ball should bounce off the net freely.
STARTING THE GAME
Play commences with all players standing in a square around the net. Team members should be standing side-by-side and all preparing for the initial serve. Typically the team that scored the previous point serves, but at the start of the game teams play rock paper scissors to determine who will initiate the first point. The team that is not receiving the serve must move 6 feet from the net.
After the serve, the net becomes a 360-degree playing field. Players may move around the net as needed to spike the ball off the net and toward the opposition.
MORE ON SERVING
The server must serve to the designated receiver. This is ensured by the two players standing across from each other. Players are allowed two chances to serve properly; catching the ball, swinging and missing, or dropping it will result in a fault.
During the serve, the ball cannot be interfered with in any way. But, the server may make a single pivot. The serve may be delivered in any way, so long as it doesn’t exceed the height of the receiver’s raised hand nor get stuck in the pocket, the space between the rim and the net. If the ball falls into the pocket, the server must make a second attempt. Players who receive faults on both serve attempts lose possession of the ball and the other team tries to serve.
Lastly, the near-net serve. A near-net serve occurs when the ball is hit toward the server and has little bounce. These serves are allowed, so long as they do not roll on the net.
FURTHER GAME PLAY
As the ball volleys between teams, players must only hit the ball with one hand: the ball cannot be thrown or caught. Teams must alternate hits, no double hits are permitted, no matter where on your body the ball hits. It is ideal for one player to bump the ball, the other to set it, and then spike the ball into the net — much like volleyball. Play should go back and forth until a team cannot hit the ball or infracts on a rule. And, play begins again with a serve.
The ball must hit the net to be valid, if it hits the rim or rolls up into the pocket, it is not a valid hit. That particular circumstance is called a roll-up. Play continues after a roll-up if it occurs during rally, however breaking other rules of play result in an infraction, the penalty of which is a lost point.
There are also infractions which have nothing to do with hitting the ball, they occur when a defensive player blocks the team from hitting the ball. This is called a hinder, and it must be called out with reason. If the hindrance is valid, the offense may reset and attempt the point again.
However, players on defense who make attempts to play the ball lose a point. Other ways to lose a point include making contact with the structure or set and hitting a shot that hits yourself or your teammate.
A typical Spike Ball game is played to 21 points, but players may agree upon a higher or lower target score. To win, you must have at least 2 more points than your opponents.
The game follows rally scoring, meaning players can score even if they aren’t serving. Points are doled for the following reasons:
- The ball hits the rim (during play and serves)
- The ball hits the ground
- The ball doesn’t hit the net within a team’s three hits
- Two consecutive invalid serves
- The ball hits the net twice and does not bounce off in a single hit
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