Stories

Spikeball enters the mainstream

A game of spikeball
Screenshot: YouTube

Spikeball evangelists — from its top-ranked players to the company at the epicenter of its growth — have aspirations beyond it being merely a toy or a lawn game for frat bros, culminating this weekend at the Spikeball Nationals in Richmond, Va.

The big picture: Fighting against that "fratty" image has been a challenge, but Spikeball has slowly but surely entered the mainstream and earned the label of "sport."

  • Media: ESPN televised 2 marquee tournaments last year, one in Lancaster, Pa. and the other on New York's Coney Island.
  • Sponsors: Spikeball has an official apparel partner in Savage Ultimate and an official beer sponsor in Landshark Lager.
  • Season format: The 2019 Tour Series consisted of 3 Tour Stops and a Grand Slam in each region (Chicago, Lancaster, Santa Monica, Nashville). The Richmond stop is the end of the line.

How to play: Spikeball is played 2 vs. 2. To start a point, the serving team hits the ball down onto the net so that it ricochets up at their opponents.

  • 3 touches: The returning team has up to 3 alternating hits (think bump, set, spike) to return the ball back onto the net. If a team fails to return the ball, the rally ends and the other team gets a point.
  • No boundaries: After the serve, players can move anywhere around the net to play the ball. If a defender impedes or collides with an offender, the infracted player can demand a replay of the point.
  • Scoring: Points are scored when the ball hits the rim, the ground, or bounces more than once on the net. Games are typically played to 11, 15 or 21 and must be won by 2 points.

Go deeper: How Spikeball was founded