Spikeball – Is This The New Thing For 2020? Review + How-To

What is Spikeball?

2020 has brought a lot of changes in our lives, and it’s sure to be remembered by the turbulence it caused around the globe. However, now as we near the end of it, it’s time we started reminiscing to the few good things that happened or were invented and spikeball being one of those.

So, if you came here to see how to play spikeball and what spikeball is, sit back and relax as I’m about to tell you all about your next favorite sport.

Other interesting articles:

Spikeball rules, equipment, and how to play

Spikeball is also known as roundnet, and it came about approximately a decade ago, but it wasn’t until the last couple of years that it really caught on with people, and we can now see leagues popping up all over the U.S and abroad.

Check out the whole history of Spikeball and how it came about in this article here (link to History of spikeball article).

The reason why it is becoming such a popular game is that it is fun and competitive, and the rules are straightforward to learn no matter the age or skills of the people playing. Learning spikeball will enable you to fill your picnics and Sunday barbeques with a lot of fun for the whole family.

What Is Spikeball

What is Spikeball?

Roundnet or spikeball? What’s all the confusion about? Before I go onto the rules, I wanted to clear a misconception related to the name of this game and how it all happened. You see, while these two terms are often used interchangeably, roundnet is the name of the game, while spikeball is the name of the most popular brand that sells the equipment for this game.

This is how all the confusion came about, but we are here to set it straight. At this point, you can go and check out the slammo vs. spikeball (link to Slammo Spikeball article) post here to clear some additional misconceptions up.

With that said, here I’ll be using the name spikeball for the sake of consistency and to avoid further confusion.

Spikeball-Gear

Spikeball Equipment

The spikeball equipment includes a ball and a net. Some say this game is inspired by volleyball, but when you see the equipment, you see the difference between these two. The ball used in spikeball is much smaller than the one in volleyball, and it is made of plastic, and the net is smaller too.

Namely, in the original rules of the game, the ball has to have 12 inches in circumference and if you want to spice things up and make the game more challenging, inflate the ball entirely. This adds an extra bounce to it, making it much more difficult to control.

However, in the beginning, go with a slightly deflated ball, semi-soft even, so that you can learn to control it much more easily and then inflate as your skills progress.

When it comes to the net, it has nothing to do with the volleyball net. The spikeball net is laid out horizontally, and it reminds me of a trampoline to be honest. It is 8 inches high of the ground and about 36 inches in diameter for 2-on-2 games.

If you want to have 6 players at once instead of 4, for a 3-on-3 game, then you can get the XL net, which is 45 inches in diameter.

Just like how much your ball is inflated affects the quality of play, the same happens with the tension of the net. You should adjust it to have a consistent tension throughout the surface for a good and fair game.

You will notice after some time of playing that the net may go looser, and you can tighten it up manually in those areas. But how do you know if the net is tight enough?

To test it, drop the ball from 3 feet above the net and measure how much it bounces off. If it bounces more than 12 inches, then the net is too tight, and if it bounces less than 12 inches, you should tighten it a bit.

Spikeball Rules of Play

Being inspired by volleyball refers more so to the rules of the game rather than the equipment as I’ve talked about before, so in the basic spikeball rules, you will see many similarities to volleyball.

Also, the number of players obviously differs from volleyball since, in Spikeball, you have 4 to 6 players, with an even number on each opposing team.

For the sake of consistency once again, in the text, I’ll talk about a four-player game, but they go the same if you play it in 6.

The two teams stand across from each other, and, like in volleyball, their main goal should be passing the ball and making it harder for the opposing team to return it.

It is more challenging than it seems because the 3 basic rules of spikeball are:

  • Players cannot carry the ball
  • Players cannot hold the ball
  • Only one hand can be used to touch the ball

The Game Play

The game starts with one team serving the ball by bouncing it off the net. The player who serves should stand no closer than 6 feet from the net while the receiver on the opposing team can stand anywhere they see fit for them.

Once the ball is served, the players are free to move and stand at any distance as close or as far away from the net.

As soon as the ball touches the net, it belongs to the other team, and the team that served cannot do anything to it until the opposing team passes it through the net.

Once a team receives the ball, they have the right to 3 hits before they return the ball to the other team. The final hit has to be through the net, to make the ball hit the net, before bouncing off to the opposing players.

If the team that currently possesses the ball cannot pass the ball in 3 hits, the other team scores a point.

The players continue with the game until:

  • One of the team fails to pass the ball
  • When the ball bounces more than once on the net
  • When a player double hits the ball

Scoring Rules in Spikeball

Just like the game itself, the scoring rules in spikeball are also easy to understand.

The game is played until one of the teams gains 21 points. However, it is up to the players to decide prior to the start of the game if they want to play until 11 or 15 points instead, as those options exist too.

However, when a tournament is played, the winning score limit is decided by the tournament director.

Another official rule is that in order for one team to win, reaching the score limit isn’t enough. They have to lead by two points to win by the end of the game. However, this can be decided upon by the players or tournament officials as it pleases the teams.

At every serve, one team gets a point based on the following rules:

  • If the served ball hits the ground instead of the net, the opposing team gets 1 point
  • If the ball hits the rim, the opposing team gets 1 point
  • If the ball bounces off the net more than one time, the opposing team gets 1 point
  • When the ball rolls on the net instead of bouncing off, the opposing team gets 1 point
  • If one player catches the ball, carries it or throws it or simply handles it with 2 hands instead of hitting it, the opposing team gets 1 point
  • If a player double touches the ball or hits it more than once in a row, the opposing team gets 1 point
  • When a player makes a mistake twice in a row, the opposing team gets 1 point

Faulting in Spikeball

According to the spikeball rules, and just like in any other sport, some moves are forbidden to make.

If you do, then these moves are marked as “faults,” and it will result in the opposing team scoring points on your behalf.

If you want to learn spikeball properly, then you have to learn all about faulting, so you know what to avoid or to recognize in other players to ensure all of you are playing a fair game.

With that said, here are the main faulting rules or moves in spikeball:

  • When serving the ball, the player needs to stay 6ft away from the net. If not, then this is considered a fault. If the server repeats it twice, the opposing team scores 1 point.
  • The server cannot serve the spikeball ball straight out of their hand. They need to toss the ball in the air at least 2 inches before they hit to serve.
  • Catching the ball, dropping, or missing a hit instead of hitting the ball at any time during the game will count as a fault. Two of these in a row earn your opposing team a point.
  • While serving, you can take one step ahead, but you cannot move sideways. Otherwise, this will be considered a fault.
  • Hitting the rim at any point of the game, while serving or playing, will count as a fault. Repeating this will earn your opposing team a point.
  • The players from one team should not block their opponents from getting to the ball. If this happens, they have to replay that part and should allow for the free flow of the ball.
  • When serving the ball, the server must pass the ball so that the opposing team is able to reach it without jumping for it. If the server hits it higher than the opponent’s outstretched arm, they will earn a fault.
  • When the ball hits the net but then rolls to the rim during a serve instead of bouncing off to the opposing team, it is called a pocket. The pocket counts as a fault too.

My thoughts

All in all, spikeball is a fantastic game to pass the time on the weekends and get some activity in. When I first tried it, I realized how easy all the rules are and how fun it is with the net placed horizontally, so I absolutely understand where all the hype around spikeball comes from.

Just, I would say there are some possible misunderstandings when it comes to the faults, so playing it more than once will enable you to understand it fully and reap the most fun out of it.

To learn more about spikeball, check out the history of spikeball here, and learn more about the differences between slammo vs. spikeball.

As always, I genuinely hope this was helpful, and if you have any questions about spikeball rules or equipment, do not hesitate to reach out.

Also, if you want to know more about spikeball, check out the FAQ section I have created with some basic and not so basic info you cannot really find anywhere else online.

In the meantime, I’d love to connect with you on my Facebook and Instagram account for more cool tips and recommendations on paddle boards and kayaks.

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Review written by: Tom

Hi! My name is Tom. During the year I try to be on a paddle board as much as possible. By reading this blog you'll stay updated on everything I test on the water :)