Meet the new sport taking over Academy

Move over, El Juicio. There’s a new trendy ball game on campus: Spikeball– an intriguing and fun way to spend your free time.  Either in the quad, or the outdoor amphitheater, groups of students can be seen hitting a small yellow ball off of a net set up on the ground. While the experienced player will know precisely where to the hit the ball, anyone can learn to play and participate, despite age or athletic ability, which makes the sport both enjoyable and popular.

Spikeball was originally created in 1989 by Chris Joseph Ruder and was intended to be a beach sport, similar to that of volleyball. Spikeball has recently garnered the attention of the U.S.and has grown into a nationwide sport. Part of its exponential success can be attributed to the accessibility of the sport: people can play Spikeball anywhere a net can be set up, be it sand or grass. The popularity of the sport has increased since the company made a pitch on the television show Shark Tank and attracted the investment of businessman Daymond John. The coastal sport quickly spread across the United States, and this year, there are over 300 Spikeball meets expected to take place. The standard price for a Spikeball set is 60 dollars and can be bought either online or at a retailer, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods.    

Spikeball requires between two to six (four being standard) players and is very similar to volleyball, in that the games are played to 21 points and must be won by two. Unlike volleyball the net is only 12 inches tall and players use a squishy yellow ball, smaller than a tennis ball. The ball is usually hit with a single hand, but any other body part can be used to bounce it off of the net. Double hits are not allowed, and neither is the use of both hands at the same time. The returner must stand opposite of the server when starting a point. Like volleyball, the opposing team can use up to three hits from different players to return the ball by hitting it off of the net. Teams score points if the opposing team allows the ball to touch the ground, the rim of the net, or bounce more than once on the net. Any interference with an opposing player results in a replayed point. Once a team reaches 11 points, the teams change sides.

        Spikeball was introduced at the beginning of the year to the Academy by a group of four seniors: Anthony Kim ’16, Tea Salazar ’16, Shane Johns ’16, and Jack Keller ’16. The game is primarily played with groups of around ten, starting games each day at different periods. Over 40 seniors have tried the game, and three have their own Spikeball sets.  “It’s a really interactive sport, and extremely easy for someone to learn,” Ryu Hsu ‘16 said. More and more students have given Spikeball a try, and people from different grades have also participated in the sport. “People should just come out and give it a try,” Hsu added. As game of Spikeball continues to attract attention on the national scene, Academy’s obsession with this fast-paced, wildly popular sport comes as no surprise.