Rules of Street Racket
At the start of play, the ball is thrown up and hit underarm, either directly out of the air or after a bounce. The ball should then be hit over the middle square (marked with a cross), landing in the opposite box. The ball must always move upwards from the bat, in other words, it cannot be hit down, or “smashed”! The server may stand behind or within his / her court, but may not stand in the middle zone. The initial server is decided by coin toss, who can also choose which side to start on. The winner of each point becomes the server in the next point. The winner of a particular set serves first in the next set. Players change sides after every set.
The following example applies for a game of singles. Player A is attempting to hit the ball into Player B’s zone, and vice-versa. If Player A’s shot lands outside of Player B’s zone (or inside the middle zone), then Player B wins the point.
The ball must bounce before it can be played – there are no volleys in Street Racket! The ball can only bounce once. If the ball bounces on the line, this counts as “in”. If the ball moves down off the racket, the opponent wins the point immediately – it is very important that the ball always moves upwards after contact with the racket.
Please note that the “no volley” and “no downplay” rules are central pillars of the Street Racket concept, which is designed as a game of skill, aim and movement! These rules ensure that the game is more fluid, and that the speed of the game is contolled, thereby allowing all ages and abilities to take part.
The winner of each rally scores a point, with the first player to reach 11 points winning a set. If the score in a particular set reaches 10:10, one more deciding point should be played. This means that the maximum number of points in every set is always 11. The normal format is to play best of 5 sets (i.e. first player to win 3 sets), however, when playing recreationally, players can of course determine their own scoring systems.
The Street Racket court
Street Racket has a unique court, designed to offer the perfect balance of accessibility, playability and challenge. The non-permanent court can be marked out in many different environments, including fields, playgrounds, pavements, drives and so on. The court can be marked using for instance chalk, throw-down sports lines, cones or string. For more permanent environments, e.g. school playgrounds, it is possible have the court lines painted.
A standard Street Racket court is made up of three equally-sized squares in a row. We recommend using boxes that are 2m x 2m, however, these can also be scaled according to space and skill level. The bigger the squares, the more players will have to move, whereas for smaller squares it is important to control the ball and aim precisely. For instance, in Primary School KS1 environments, smaller boxes may be preferable.
The middle square replaces the normal net found in tennis, badminton and table tennis, and players must hit the ball over this zone. It is crucial that the proportions of the court are maintained, which is easy to do by ensuring that all three squares are the same size.
There are many variations of Street Racket courts, all based around a series of three squares. For instance, it is possible to arrange two courts running in a cross, with one central middle zone. This can be used for a more challenging game singles, or for a game of doubles. It can also be used to run cardio drills. There is also an ‘XL’ court composed of 9 boxes organised into a large square!
There are many suitable balls for Street Racket, however, ideal characteristics include that it is: soft, has a diameter of 6-8cm and bounces well. The official Street Racket ball (available on this site soon) is designed specifically for this purpose, having been purpose-designed and thoroughly tested. If you do not have this available, it is possible to use something else, but try to ensure that it is not too small or light, and that it is has a consistent bounce. It is also important that the ball is not too hard, and that it cannot harm the players! Suitable alternatives to the official Street Racket ball include Mini Tennis Orange or the heavier sponge balls.
The racket needs to have a hard surface (not strings) and a relatively large face, e.g. a beach bat. The official Street Racket bat (available on this site soon) has been custom-designed and tested to ensure the best playability. If this is not available, the racket used should have the appropriate proportions to the Street Racket ball, and should generally have a small grip so that it acts as an extension to the hitting hand. This allows the player to make contact with the ball easily. To picture the racket size, please think about a proportionally-larger table tennis bat, or a smaller padel tennis racket.
Street Racket is a flexible sport and we have seen people playing with various household objects, including plastic plates and frying pans. It is also possible to simply use your hand to hit back the ball!
We hope that you have fun playing Street Racket!