Spikeball sparks popularity due to its simplicity


Emerson Wright

SPIKE IT. Winding up to hit the ball, Zach Leslie plays Spikeball with Gaurav Shekhawat on Kenwood mall during lunch. Spikeball has been described as a cross between four square and volleyball. The boys said they use it as a way to bring friends together and stay active while not playing soccer.

Mira Costello, Midway Reporter

After school, students often clamor to practice for conventional, school-sponsored athletics. Kovler Gym fills with setters, runners and tennis players — but when soccer is not in season, junior Zach Leslie has other plans.

You might catch him playing Spikeball, a game with many familiar rules, but also an interesting twist. It’s been described online as a cross between four square and volleyball.

Also known as Roundnet, Spikeball is played in two teams of four players, with a small ball and a trampoline-like net.

“I saw some highlight videos on the internet of really cool Spikeball plays, which sort of got me interested,” Zach said.

After trying out the game at a friend’s house, he and his brother ordered their own set. A Spikeball set costs $50-60.

Though the hobby was conceived in 1989, interest among high school students and adults alike has been on the rise recently. This might be explained by its 2008 rebranding. According to an article by founder Chris Ruder, once Spikeball.com was launched, the company grew exponentially by asking customers how they heard about the product.

“I credit that question alone for a majority of our success because it uncovered our three main customer groups: Ultimate Frisbee players, P.E. teachers, and faith-based youth groups,” Ruder wrote.

While this likely contributed to Spikeball’s popularity, Zach emphasized other potential factors.

“It has really simple rules, it’s not very expensive, it’s not heavy — so it’s not difficult to bring places, and it just requires a group of friends who want to play,” he said. “I think its simplicity is what makes it so popular.”

Though Spikeball is simple, its unique style and energy provide a more laidback source of enjoyment for everyone. Those who may not be interested in mainstream sports can use Spikeball as a way to have fun and stay active, but the pastime extends to athletes who want to strengthen their own skill, too.

“It requires a lot of coordination as well as reaction time,” Zach added. He enjoys spending time playing with friends, and says it’s a fun way to socialize and stay active that is “different from a lot of other sports.”