Soccer tennis is a soccer-specific sport that incorporates some aspects of tennis and volleyball. It does not use rackets or tennis balls; however, it is played on a tennis court. Players who want to improve their soccer skills and technique will find soccer tennis a nice change from routine practices and repetitive drills. Once the basic game rules and concepts are learned, players start to develop tactics and strategies, making match play very competitive.
Court and Equipment
Soccer tennis is played on a regulation size doubles tennis court, 78 feet long and 36 feet wide. The court is divided in half by a tennis net that is 36 inches high in the middle. A size 5 soccer ball is used for ages 12 and older. Shoes that mark or damage the court, such as cleats or studded shoes, are not allowed.
A match consists of two out of three games. The first team to score 15 points wins the game. Three players from each team compete. Two substitutes per match are allowed for each team. In a co-ed match, at least one female player must be on the court at any given time. After each game, teams are allowed a 3 minute break and switch sides.
A coin toss starts the match. The winner of the toss can choose to serve first or pick the side to start play on. The serve is referred to as a kick-off. The player who starts the kick-off must stand behind the baseline and has two attempts at getting the kick-off in play. He can kick the ball out of his hands or drop-kick the ball, allowing it to bounce before kicking it. The ball can land anywhere on the opponent's side of the court. If the kick-off hits the net and goes over, it is replayed. If the ball fails to go over the net or land within the courts boundaries in the two attempts, a point is awarded to the opposing team and they will start the next point.
Players are not allowed to touch the ball with their arms or hands, but any other part of their body, including shoulders, is allowed. Teams are allowed up to three touches and two bounces. All three touches do not have to be taken before returning the ball. It is legal to return the ball after one touch. If three touches are taken, all three players do not need to touch the ball. For example, player A passes the ball to player B who then passes it back to player A, who then returns it to the opposing team.
Ball Bounce Rules
The ball is allowed to bounce only once before a player touches it. With three players on a team, this means the ball can bounce only twice. The ball does not have to bounce; a player can elect to return the ball only after one touch. An example of three touches and two bounces is when player A touches the ball, the ball bounces, player B touches the ball, the ball bounces a second time and then player C returns the ball back to the opposing team.
A team does not have to serve or kick-off in order to win a point; the winner of a rally wins a point. Teams are awarded points when the opposing team commits a fault. Examples of faults are hitting the ball outside the court's boundary lines, a player touches the ball with his arm or hand, the ball is hit into the net, the server steps onto the playing field before or during the kick-off and a team has too many touches or bounces before returning the ball.
- Photo Credit soccer ball image by John Steel from Fotolia.com
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