Objective of the Game:

Advance through the 9 squares of the game to the center square and remain there for as long as possible.

Basic Game Play:

The player in the center square serves the ball to any other square. The player receiving the ball must hit the ball out the top of their square and into another square. Each player is allowed to hit the ball only once per turn. Play continues in this manner until someone is eliminated.

A player is out if:

   - They fail to return the ball to another player’s square.

   - They hit the ball outside the entire game structure.

   - They double hit the ball.

   - They touch the game structure during play. 

     (This rule is optional during free play.)

The player who is eliminated will exit the game and get in line and wait to re-enter the game. The remaining players will advance forward in a clockwise manner to fill the empty square, and a new player will enter square one. Once the 9 squares are filled, the center player serves the ball to start the next play.

Determining the Winner:

Free play:  During free play, there is no need to keep track of points.  Players simply enjoy the fun of trying to get to the center square and remaining there as long as possible.  Free play can last for hours and players have the freedom to come and go, new players may join the game whenever they choose.  Everyone gets a chance to feel like a winner with free play, if they make it to the center square.

Competitive play: With competitive play, the player in the center square receives a point each time another player is eliminated.  Before the game begins determine if the game will end when a player: 

1.) reaches a set amount of points (example - 9 points). 

2.) earns the most points in a set amount of time (example - 9 minutes).

Advanced Rules:

  • A Legal Serve:

    The player in the center square serves with both feet on the ground. The ball must be struck, not thrown, and it must have an upward trajectory when it leaves the center square.

  • The Jerk Rule: 

    The perimeter of your square has an invisible plane that extends toward the sky. If a player in a neighboring square has not yet struck the ball that is in their square, you cannot break the plane of their square. Once a player touches the ball in their square you may break the plane of their square and reach over to attack or block the ball. Also, once the ball breaks the plane of your square, it can be attacked or blocked. This rule can be summarized as the “Jerk Rule.” Don’t be a jerk! Don’t invade other’s squares until they have a fair chance to play the ball.

  • A Rebound Shot:

    What if you hit the ball and it hits a bar outside of your square, but rebounds to your square without being touched by another player?

    You are eliminated. 

    Why? If you were to hit the ball again, it would be considered a double hit, which results in elimination. Remember, players must hit the ball out of their square and “into” another person’s square to remain in the game. If the ball rebounds and returns to your square, that means it didn’t fall into an opponent’s square.

  • Joust:

    What happens if two player make contact with the ball above the bars and the ball is held between them? Just like in volleyball, this is considered a joust, and play continues resulting in the ball falling into one square or the other. The player will have one hit to return the ball to another square if the ball falls into their square after a joust.

  • Blocking an Attack:

    The block does not count as the players “one hit” as long as the player’s hands were above the top of the bar during the block. If their hands were not above the bar, it is not considered a block, and would count as their one hit.

  • Head Shots:

    If the ball strikes any part of your body and leaves your square, that is a legal hit. If the ball then enters another square, play continues. If the ball exits the entire game structure after hitting you, and you are the last person to touch the ball, then you are eliminated.

  • Catch, Carry, or Hold:

    A player may not catch, carry, or hold the ball when making a play. A “hit” is considered brief, quick contact with the ball with one hand, 2 hands simultaneously, or any other part of their body.

  • Last Touch:

    If a ball is hit outside the entire game structure, the person who was the last to touch the ball is eliminated.

  • House Rules:

    Enjoy the freedom of creating your own “house rules” or modifying the rules listed above. To ensure a fun playing environment for all, make sure everyone knows the rules your groups uses.