You know what is amazing about Spikeball? It has created its own culture. It is the ultimate backyard/outdoor game—#goals. When us lowly Backyard Buffs have created a game with its own tournament being broadcast on ESPN… that’s when we will know we have made it.
- Time to set up: It should take 2-3 minutes to set up. All it requires to set up is putting the pieces of the circular frame together and then hooking the net around the edge of the frame to make the trampoline-like platform. If you don’t put the netting on well enough the first time then it may require an extra minute to make sure there are no “pockets” (areas of loose net where the ball may bounce off of at weird angles).
- Duration of game: Games are typically played to 21 points, but shorter games can be played to 11 or 15 if you want. Regardless of what score you are playing to, you must win by 2 points. Points are awarded on every serve regardless of what team serves the ball. Depending on what score you decide to play to, and how long each rally lasts, a game can last anywhere from 10-25 minutes.
- Number of players that are needed/can participate: Generally, Spikeball is played with 2 teams of 2, but it can also be played with 2 people in a one on one fashion or even 6 people if you’ve got a big group (3 vs 3). 2 vs 2 is how it was designed to play, so we will highly recommend and discuss playing with that setup.
- Where it can be played? Spikeball works on all flat surfaces. You need at least a 10 foot radius around the net of room in order to play the game comfortably. Places like the beach or a grassy area at the park are ideal, but the game works on all surfaces. If asphalt or concrete is the only place you have to play, we don’t recommend diving for the ball. Also, beware that playing on your father’s nicely manicured lawn may not be a great idea due to the fact that players make hard cuts that eventually rip up grass and cause dead spots. We lovingly call these Spikeball Crop Circles. You’re welcome in advance to all you dads with nice lawns.
- How to play? To begin, teams line up across from each other with the Spikeball roundnet in between them. The serving team hits the ball into the net towards the opposing team. The goal on the serve is to hit the ball towards the opposing team in a manner where they cannot return it. If they cannot return the serve then the serving team gets a point. Each team is allowed up to 3 touches in order to return the ball into the net. It is not required that you hit the ball all 3 times. Each time the ball hits the net possession switches to the other team. The rally or volley continues until one team cannot return the ball into the net.
Backyard Buffs Rating: 16
Ease of storage/portability: 5. One of the greatest things about Spikeball beyond the endless hours of competition is how easy it is to store and carry around. The game only has a couple pieces that fit together to make the rim, the net, and a couple spare balls that all go together in a Spikeball branded drawstring bag. It weighs a total of about 3.5 lbs. Actually, I looked it up and it, in fact, weighs 3.5 lbs. It is a game that fits nicely in any trunk and isn’t a hassle to take anywhere.
Durability (packaging or game pieces): 4. This game almost gets a perfect score. A 4 is honestly a great score for durability. The only thing that keeps this game from having a perfect score is the net and drawstring bag. After many, many plays on the net it will start to fray and lose a little bit of its springiness. The net seems to fray from repeatedly putting the net on and taking it off. I’m sure you can find a replacement net for cheap if you ever run into that problem, but it should only occur, if at all, years down the road. (We have actually heard that Spikeball may replace the net for free… can someone confirm that for us?) The bag will wear and tear like any drawstring bag; especially if it’s tossed in a trunk repeatedly for years. If you take good care of it (I know, obvious) then it should be fine.
Friendly for all Ages/Skill Levels: 3. Spikeball is a pretty simple concept, but can be more technical in its execution. The hard part for most people is learning to time a swing at the small ball while keeping track of where the roundnet is. Also, it can be hard to chase down a ball and hit it back to the vicinity of the roundnet while running. It takes some practice and hand eye coordination to synchronize the movement with hitting the ball accurately. Like most games it’s fun to play with people who are at a similar skill level so that players can push each other to play at a higher level. But that shouldn’t deter people of differing skill levels from playing together. Obviously when playing with kids it’s going to be a different level of play, but it’s definitely doable.
Fair Pricing: 4. Spikeball can run anywhere from $40 on sale to around $55-$60. We think that it’s a pretty fair price for the quality and fact that it comes with an awesome bag to keep all things together.
Conclusion: Spikeball is a game that has swept the country by storm these past couple years. Although most of the tournaments and nationally televised players seem to represent a specific age demographic, (roughly 16-35 years old) don’t let that deter you older or younger folks from joining in on the fun. It takes some practice to get the coordination down, but once you do, you’ll play for hours and hours. Many cities and schools have Spikeball groups or clubs, so it’s a great way to be social and make friends in the community. We fully support any activity that gets us outside, active, and meeting new people. Spikeball is a great game that does just that.