Spikeball Tournament Rule Changes

Spikeball Roundnet Association Makes Changes to Tournament Rules

If you haven’t heard, the SRA has come out with some pretty big rule changes that will be effective for the 2019 season.  We will also be adopting them for the URA tournaments so we have summarized some of the changes for your convenience, but you may read the full list of rules with highlighted changes HERE.

 First things first, the elephant in the room: 

Double faults allowed for all missed serves.  Just like in tennis, if you miss your first serve, no matter how badly, you will get a 2nd serve.  If you hit the rim, legs, or just flat out hit the ground, take a 2nd serve.  As such, the person receiving the serve will have the choice to play a rimmed serve if they so choose, just like they could with a pocket. They get a free first touch, but the returning team must call out if they choose to play/not to play before their 2nd hit (or before it hits the ground) – if you don’t then you must continue the play.  Players are not required to say anything if they choose to play through a fault. But if the ball hits the ground they cannot choose to play it.

Calling out the score: Before starting their serving motion, the server must call our the score to the receiver – placing the serving team’s score before the receiving team’s score, and pausing momentarily to ensure the receiver is ready and there are no score discrepancies. If the server does not call out the score, calls the wrong score, or calls the score while in the act of serving – the receiving team CAN (but not required to) call for a REPLAY of the point before their second touch.  Previously this was played as a fault and not a replay – also to be noted: “the spirit of the rule is to make sure the other team is ready and to settle any score discrepancies before points begin. Don’t be a jerk.”

Serving positions: Players must stay in consistent serving positions: think North, South, East, West.  There’s a few people that try to scoot their serve more diagonally to either get a better position on the serve receiver, or even to get a more convenient position relative to the sun and other elements.  Just stay in the correct spot. Also, just to point out – you must serve 6 feet away from the net, this means you must contact the ball behind the 6 foot line, no reaching over! (No change in that rule, just always having to point it out)

Bracket Play Starting Serve:  In bracket play, the team with the higher seed gets to choose serve/receive, side, or to defer in game one.  First serve in game 2 will switch to the other team as usual.

Hinders: First, let’s clarify that there are 2 types of hinders: 

·     Basic Hinder: Any hinder that does not affect a strong offensive play

·     Active Hinder: Any hinder where the offensive player has a strong play on the ball (a spike where they are in close proximity to the net).

Any hinder that occurs without a strong play on the ball (a basic hinder) will result in the point being replayed. Whoever served to start the point will serve again and any faults will be reset. Nothing new here.

For an active hinder, we break it down further:

·     Unavoidable Hinder: If the defender has no time to avoid the hinder when playing in a legitimate defensive position.

·     Avoidable Hinder: If the hinder is avoidable and the offensive player has a strong play on the ball. 

  • Example – defensive team throws arm in front of shot over the net, preventing offensive player from swinging

  • Example – the hitter is contacted by a defensive player during the act of swing in close proximity to the net

For an unavoidable hinder, the point will be replayed – however, the hindered team can choose to serve or receive, while keeping the established serving rotation. Any faults will be reset.

For an avoidable hinder, the point is awarded to the hindered, offensive team.


The double fault rule has been highly debated and even controversial.  But the SRA has done research and has data to back the goal that it will lead to more playable balls, which will lead to more rallies.  We’ve all been there when all 4 people hit the net and the game loses momentum as you go around.  It’s also frustrating when you can’t get in a rhythm all game long on your serves. This should help with that as you can work on a hard first serve, if it doesn’t land then cut your losses and just put on a good 2nd serve – that will at least be my foreseen strategy. People have been concerned about having more aces as it gives people the chance to serve harder, but I think that will be countered by the additional chances to play pockets/rimmed serves.

The additional changes to the hinder rules are also beneficial to give the hindered team an advantage in being able to choose who gets to serve as they were very disadvantaged in having a strong play taken away from them.  

Do you have any thoughts? Feel free to comment below or shoot us an email if you need any rule clarified for you.