A mix of tennis, volleyball and badminton played with rackets and a small, round elliptical ball, eclipse ball was created in 1993 by Donald Benson. Designed for coed teams of all playing abilities, eclipse ball is unique in that there are unlimited passes between players, mulligans, or do-overs, in each round and lax rules when it comes to use of your hands, body or other body parts in keeping the ball in play as long as the ball is not caught.
Select playing teams of 4 to 6 players each. Divide teams equally on each side of the net. Players should get into position with three up front, one in the middle and two in the back. Players will rotate clockwise in every round of play in which their team scores.
Determine which team will serve. A player from either team must throw the eclipse ball over the net. Players on the opposite side must volley, or hit, the eclipse ball with their racket (upward to another player or back over the net). Two bounces are allowed per side and tosses between players are unlimited. After the ball has been hit over the net three times, the first team to miss a volley loses, and the opposite team begins the game with a serve.
Serve the ball with an underhanded throw and hit from your racket. The server must be between half-court to three-quarters back on the court at the time of the serve. Players on the opposite team must return the ball to the serving team by passing it over the net (or to each other) while the ball is inbounds (on the line or within the court).
Continue to volley back and forth across the net until the ball is out of bounds, which awards the serving team one point. Only the serving team can win a point. However, if the ball is hit while out of bounds, players from either side can yell "play it" as the ball moves over the net. Once "play it" is called, either team can earn two points if the opposing side's ball is hit out of bounds. You can call "play it" up to four times in a single volley, with point values raised in increments of two (2, 4, 6, 8) until one team scores.
Play to a score of 21 for full games and 11 for half games. The game must be won by three points and players must call "game point" when serving a ball with game-scoring potential.
Tips & Warnings
- The ball is allowed to hit the net while moving over it, and may bounce on the ground once between passes. Double bounces between hits are limited to once per side, per volley, with any additional double bounces penalized with a loss of point or serve. A player is limited to two consecutive hits of the ball per volley.
- The size of the court can be larger or smaller depending on the number of players. If you only have one or two players, downgrade to a badminton court.
- Whichever team loses the game will serve first in the next game, and so on.
- In each game, the server gets one mulligan, or do-over, per game on a serve that does not make it over the net (in tennis, a server is allowed two tries on every serve of the game).
- Players must remain on their side of the net at all times.
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