Is Spikeball Really a Sport?

Saturday, April 25

By Solomon Berry

Forty-one percent of people consider Spikeball a sport, while forty-four percent say they have never even heard of it before[1]. For those not familiar with it, it’s commonly described as a mixture of volleyball and four-square, where teams have three hits to spike a ball off of a small trampoline. While the company that manufactures the equipment was only founded around ten years ago, a competitive scene has rapidly developed to the point where national tournaments have hundreds of teams travel to participate, and plays like this one have been featured on SportsCenter's Top 10.

According to a very scientific google search, the dictionary definition of a sport is, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” From this we can isolate three main requirements:

  1. A sport must require at least some physical exertion
  2. A sport must involve an actual skill or skillset which can be practiced and improved upon
  3. A sport must include a competition to determine a winner

Starting with the last requirement, Spikeball is designed to be a competition where two teams play to be the first to 21 points, and even beyond that an entire Tour Series of national tournaments has been developed in the U.S. The second part of the definition says that there must be a skill involved, and while it might seem a relatively simple game at first, there are many different individual skills that can be practiced in order to improve. For example competitive players put different types of spin on their serves to generate more aces, work on setting the ball directly over the net to enable better spikes, and even devise defensive strategies in order to win more rallies. There are even tutorials on how to practice some of these skills, like a cut serve or better defense. Finally,the first and most obvious requirement is that it must require some type of athletic effort. Anyone who has ever played can tell you that all the running around and diving for balls isn't easy, but if that isn't enough for you then watch this for as long and as many times as it takes you to admire the athleticism on display.

So to answer the question posed in the title of this article, yes Spikeball is a sport. Not only does it satisfy the requirements to be a sport, it's also incredibly fun to play and makes for some jaw-dropping highlights!

-For anyone wanting to see more crazy highlights here ya go! Spikeball Top 10

[1] https://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/190801_crosstabs_THE_OCHO_Adults_v1_JB.pdf

 

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