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How to play Catchball | Basic Rules

Catchball is played by two teams on a playing court divided by a net. The object of the game is to pass the ball over the net in order to ground it on the opponent's court, and to prevent the same effort by the opponent. The ball is put in play with a serve, thrown over the net to the opponents. The rally continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes "out" or a team fails to return it properly. A player’s equipment consists of a jersey, shorts, socks (the uniform) and sport shoes. The color and the design for the jerseys must be uniform for the team (except for the Libero). Player's jerseys must be numbered.

Catchball uses a rally point scoring system. Teams score a point on every rally, regardless of the serving team. The team winning a rally scores a point.

A team can touch the ball up to three times on its side of the net, for returning it to the opponent's court. The usual pattern is: a (receive the ball coming from opponent team), a (pass-throw the ball to a team-mate) and a (the overhead attacking throw). Teams can also try to block the opponent's spike as it crosses the net. A block does not count as one of three ball contacts.

There are six players on the court in a Catchball team. There are front-row players and back-row players, who have different playing rolls. Replacements are allowed during the match. A team may include special defense players called "Liberos". Those players (wearing a different colored uniform from the rest of the team-mate) plays a vital role for the team in backcourt defense (reception of the serve or opponent's attack) and frontcourt defense (backup team-mate blockers).

The six players on the court, must rotate one position clockwise every time their team wins back service from the opposition. Only the front-row players can spike or block near the net. The back-row players are not allowed to complete an attack throw of the ball from the front zone while jumping.

All matches are played as a "Winning Sets" system. A team wins the match if it wins in two sets. The first two sets are scored up to 25 points, while the third set (if played) is scored up to 15 points. The team must win a set with a minimum lead of two points. There is no limit, so in case of a tie (24-24 in 1st and 2nd sets, or 14-14 in the 3rd set), a set continues until a two-point lead is achieved.

Catchball is being developed into a very specialized sport. Most teams include in their starting line-up a setter, two center blockers, two receivers, a Libero and a universal spiker. Replacements are allowed during the game.

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