Spikeball Looks To Expand Nationally

By Christy Flom on January 29, 2015

An up-and-coming sport that comes with a movable court, easy access and a guaranteed good time that has yet to hit mainstream venues is Spikeball.

Beginning as a recreational game, Spikeball has grown into a national movement with tournaments, intramural college teams and even National Championships.

To describe the mixture of sports that are combined to create the unique game, spikeball.com says on a homepage advertisement, “If volleyball and four square had a baby, it would be called Spikeball.”

Played in doubles, the setup of the game is actually very comparable to volleyball. There is a circular net that resembles a small trampoline, which essentially acts the same as a volleyball net, but faces up instead of strewn across a court.

Players get three hits, like in volleyball, to hit a small ball onto the net to the other team, allowing only one bounce on the net. Essentially, when a player hits the ball at the net to bounce to the other team it is the same as when the ball crosses the net in a volleyball game.

Avid player and member of the 2014 National Championship Spikeball team, Shaun Boyer, said while the sport is similar to volleyball, Spikeball has more opportunities for players to hone their skills and prove themselves on a national level.

The point of the game is to try to get the opposing partners to miss the ball or drop it. If the ball hits the floor or the rim of the net, it is an automatic point for the opposing team.

A group of four playing Spikeball. Image via Elvert Barnes on Flickr.com

An interesting aspect of the game is that there are no boundaries and players can hit the ball as soft or hard as they choose to try to trip up their opponents.

Players can also use any part of their body to hit the ball, but can only touch the ball once in a row, so teamwork is a key part of the game.

There are certain rules such as interference, where it is called a “hinder” and a replay is called.

To be more specific, this is where a player from the opposing team interferes with another player’s opportunity to attempt to play the ball. For a complete list of rules, visit usaspikeball.com. The website also has team rankings and tournament listings of games going on all over the United States.

There are regional championships in the West, Midwest, Southeast and East. According to the website, “the top 3 teams in each region will be put into a power pool and guaranteed a 1-12 seed after pool play.”

These teams will then compete at Nationals, which for 2015 will be held on some date in October in Nashville, Tennessee.

The website emphasizes that all teams are open to compete in the regional championships if at least one player on the team lives in one of the particular regions. Teams can only compete in one regional championship.

Boyer has been playing the sport for a little over two years and is very optimistic about the direction of the sport.

“I think the main reason people are attracted to the sport is because they have never seen anything like it before,” Boyer said. “From an outsider’s perspective it looks like four people running around a circular trampoline while taking turns bouncing a ball off it.”

Aside from the interesting setup, Spikeball has garnered interest of adolescents all over the nation and make up for the majority of the Spikeball community nowadays.

As a new sport, there are many more opportunities for teams and players to become involved and to succeed. Boyer said the sport has been utilized both officially and unofficially at a ton of colleges.

“There are around 20 schools who have Spikeball as an intramural,” Boyer said. “We actually have an ambassador program that is picking up a lot of speed.”

Looking to the future, Boyer said the goal has always been to create America’s next greatest sport, which will mean increasing games to more than just backyards at barbecues.

“In 2014 there were over 100 Spikeball tournaments all across the country,” Boyer said. “For 2015, we hope to double that and continue expanding Spikeball as a highly competitive sport.”

Using the link, it is very easy to become involved in the Spikeball community. The ambassador program is currently taking applications looking for “ambitious collegiate Spikeballers who want to make a name for themselves on campus.”

The website promotes Spikeball through an interesting marketing technique with the slogan, “It’s dropping GPA’s and making people better looking everywhere.”

All jokes aside, Spikeball is gaining traction quickly across the United States and is a great way for college students to get out there and bring something new to their school that is fun for everyone to play and can be a great study break.

Check out the links below to see videos of the game and visit the official Spikeball site for more information on equipment and rules.

I'm a communications major at the University of Michigan. I love sports, especially the Wolverines, and have always had a passion for writing

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