The situation in the world today reminds me a little bit of being grounded as a kid. Back in the 80’s, though, being grounded may have even been worse than it is now. We didn’t have cable or streaming TV, Pong was the only video game and there was no such thing as the internet. I could go outside, but I couldn’t leave our property. All the things I wanted to do, I couldn’t – at least that’s what I thought.
I was BORED. But, boredom isn’t always a bad thing. Boredom leads to invention and creativity. It led me to “invent” a game I called Soccer Volleyball. I say “invent” because I doubt I was the first to do it and there are several different versions of the game out there today — most call is Soccer Tennis. But, for me, I’d never seen it and neither had my neighborhood.
You don’t need much equipment for the game. All you need is a soccer ball, a driveway (or other similarly sized hard surface) and a friend (and maybe some sidewalk chalk). The basic setup is: one player on one half of the “court” and the other player on the other half with a line in the middle separating the two halves. My driveway had a line conveniently built in due to separate slabs of concrete, but sidewalk chalk could also be used. The size of my driveway was also pretty good, but again you could mark off the boundaries of the court with sidewalk chalk, if you needed to.
Rules of the Game
The rules of the game are simple. The server starts with the ball in his/her hands as far back in his/her half of the court as possible. The server bounces the ball and kicks it over to the other side of the court. The ball must be above knee level (of the tallest player) as it passes over the center of the court. You could also use a net, but we didn’t have a net and the knee height rule seemed to work well.
Once the ball bounces on the other side, the opposing player must play the ball with a soccer-legal part of his/her body (no hand balls!). The opposing player does not need to immediately play it back over the center line, but must legally touch the ball after every bounce until the ball is played back over the center line. It’s kind of like juggling, but you get a bounce in between every touch — if you want it. It doesn’t matter whether the between touch bounces are in bounds or out of bounds as long as the ball played over the center line lands in bounds.
The rally then continues until either: 1) the ball played to the opposing side lands out of bounds; or 2) the ball bounces twice on the same side without being legally touched between the bounces. This is much like tennis, with the “winning” player getting a point.
The server serves 5 times in a row and then service switches to the other side. Players themselves switch sides every 10 points. First player to 20 points wins. That’s it! The basic game is pretty easy.
But, what really makes this fun is all the possible variations on the rules. I loved the singles game, but if we had 3 players, 2 v. 1 worked pretty well. In that situation, the team would have to alternate the “toucher” between bounces. In that way, the game could be modified to fit any number of players.
Other variations include limiting the total number of bounces between touches on one side of the court to three. Or, if the players are really good at juggling, limiting the bounces on one side to one. The possible permutations are limitless. Adjust the rules to fit your skillset and keep it fun!
Soccer Volleyball is Great for Development
Soccer Volleyball is great for developing touch with different parts of the body along with general anticipation and confidence with controlling the ball out of the air. Personally, I’ve always hated juggling. I could do it, but I’ve always found it to be dull. However, I recognize the value of the skills developed through juggling. As the saying goes, juggling won’t make a player great, but you’ll rarely find a great player that can’t juggle. To me, Soccer Volleyball develops those same skills in a much more interesting format.
Play Even When You’re “Grounded”
Don’t get me wrong, I hated being grounded. But, I loved that it led me to “invent” Soccer Volleyball. Kids came from all over the neighborhood to play Soccer Volleyball at my house. I don’t think that’s what my parents had in mind when they grounded me, but they appreciated my ingenuity enough to let it go.
Soccer Volleyball is a great game to play anytime, but especially when you’re grounded — like the entire world is right now! Give it a try.