By Kevin Wilson
The Clovis Spikeball Showcase, set for Saturday morning at Hillcrest Park, is billed as an introductory event to show residents the sport, which was actually invented in 1989 but experienced a resurgence early this decade.
Harding Brumby and Darrian Whiting, two local Spikeball players, showed us some basics about the game in advance of the Showcase.
• What: Clovis Spikeball Showcase
• When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. The first hour will feature instruction and practice, followed by competitive play tailored to individual skill levels. Suggested player age is 8 and older.
• Where: Hillcrest Park.
• Price: Free. Participants are encouraged to register at USASpikeball.com (“Clovis Spikeball Showcase” under the “Find a Tournament” link), or contact Brumby at 202-288-1406.
The spikeball is about the size of a softball or a large orange. It looks like a small volleyball, but has a light rubber suface instead of the cloth cover you’d get from a volleyball.
The net is 11 separate parts:
• Five black curved plastic pipes. The pipes have a diameter of 3/4 inch, and have six net hooks. When connected, they form a circle with a diameter of about 3 feet.
• Five plastic yellow stands. These connect the pipe pieces together, and put the net about 8 inches off of the ground. Each stand has a net hook as well.
• The netting. It is cut to fit the circle. Five spots on the netting are color-coded for placement on the yellow stand hooks. After the net has been hooked at the stands, Players can use as many of the black hooks as they wish to tighten the net. The tighter the net, the bigger the bounces for the spikeball.
There’s more to it, but this is a basic rundown of how to play the game, courtesy of USASpikeball.com and Brumby:
• Opposing players line up across the net from each other, as shown in the diagram. The player receiving the serve can stand any distance from the net, but the server and the two other players must stand at least 6 feet from the net.
• The ball must be tossed up from the server’s hand before it is hit. Serves can be as hard or light as the server wishes and drop shots are allowed, provided the ball comes cleanly off of the net.
• A serve that isn’t clean is a “let,” and the server is given a second serve. A double fault results in a point for the opponent and loss of service. Think tennis.
• If the ball contacts the rim or the ground at any time, whether on a serve or during play, it is a point for the other team and they serve.
• After a server wins the point, he switches spots with his teammate so he can serve to the other opposing player.
• Hits must alternate between teammates.
• The ball must be hit, not be caught, lifted, or thrown.
• You can use any part of your body to hit the ball, but you cannot contact the ball twice in a row and you cannot hit the ball with two hands.
• Once the ball hits the net, it must bounce off in a single bounce. It must clear the rim in order to be good.
• If teams cannot determine if the ball hit the rim or the ground, replay the point. No questions asked.
• As long as the ball comes off the net clean, it can be hit in any direction. Once a ball is successfully returned, defensive players must stay out of the offensive team’s way.
• If a member of the defensive team is hit with the ball or is in the way of an offensive player, and it prevents the offense from making a legitimate play, the offensive player calls “hinder” and the point is replayed.
• If a defensive player attempts to play a ball when it is not their turn, they lose the point.
• If a player hits a shot off the net then the ball hits their teammate, they lose the point. If a player hits a shot off the net then the ball hits himself/herself, they lose the point.
• If a player contacts the net with enough force to move it or affect the ball’s trajectory. They lose the point. Contact with the net that does not alter play is ignored.
• If there’s an argument, replay the point.
• Points are scored when: The ball hits the ground, the ball is not returned within three hits, the ball hits the rim, the ball bounces more than once on the net or there is an infraction or illegal serve.
• Teams play to 21, and must win by two.
• Rally scoring is used, which means either the serving or the receiving team can score. Brumby said in tennis the server is usually expected to win the point but most Spikeball points are earned by the receiving team.